Coronavirus Live Updates: Trump Pushes for Schools to Open in the Fall

Trump leans on local officials, who control schools, to reopen them in the fall.

Mr. Trump is pressing schools to physically reopen in the fall, pursing his goal of reopening the United States even as the pandemic surges through much of the country and overwhelms some health care facilities in the South and West.

In a daylong series of conference calls and public events at the White House on Tuesday, the president and other senior officials kicked off a concerted campaign to lean on governors, mayors and other local officials — who actually control the schools — to find ways to safely resume classes in person.

They argued that the costs of keeping children at home any longer would be worse than the virus itself.

“We hope that most schools are going to be open, and we don’t want people to make political statements or do it for political reasons,” Mr. Trump said. “They think it’s going to be good for them politically, so they keep the schools closed. No way. We are very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools to get them open, and it’s very important. It’s very important for our country.”

The president brushed off the risks of spiking infection numbers. The nation has reported more new cases than ever on several days this month, and some states have reversed their moves to ease restrictions.

Mr. Trump has been pressing more businesses to reopen, but it will be difficult for many parents to work if the schools do not reopen and they have no child care.

Beyond generalities, neither Mr. Trump nor his team offered concrete proposals or new financial assistance to states and localities struggling to restructure programs that were never designed to keep children six feet apart or cope with combating a virus that has killed more than 130,000 Americans.

Before the White House event, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos castigated the nation’s school administrations for moving too slowly to reopen in the fall.

“I was disappointed frankly in schools and districts that didn’t figure out how to serve students or that just gave up and didn’t try,” Ms. DeVos told the nation’s governors, according to a recording of the conference call obtained by The New York Times.

Ms. DeVos was not impressed with school districts that want to experiment with a mix of part-time in-person teaching and online classrooms. She singled out Fairfax County, Va., as a district “playing both paradigms.”

“Here in the D.C. area, Fairfax County, one of the wealthiest districts in this region with a $3 billion budget, has offered families a so-called choice this fall, zero days or two days in school,” she said. “A couple of hours of online school is not OK, and a choice of two days per week in the classroom is not a choice at all.”

The Trump administration sends a formal notification of U.S.’s withdrawal from the W.H.O., effective next year.

The Trump administration has formally notified the United Nations that the United States is withdrawing from the World Health Organization, officials said Tuesday, cutting off one of the organization’s biggest sources of aid amid a pandemic that has infected more than 11.6 million people, killed more than a half a million, and upended life around the world.

“The United States’ notice of withdrawal, effective July 6, 2021, has been submitted to the U.N. secretary general, who is the depository for the W.H.O.,” said a senior administration official.

By law, the United States must give the organization a year’s notice if it intends to withdraw, and meet all the current financial obligations in the current year.

Mr. Trump, whose response to the pandemic has drawn criticism, first announced that he planned to halt funding to the W.H.O. in April, claiming that the organization had made a series of mistakes as it battled the coronavirus. The biennial budget for the W.H.O. is about $6 billion, which comes from member countries around the world. In 2019, the last year for which figures were available, the United States contributed about $553 million.

His move drew immediate criticism, including from Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey, who wrote on Twitter that Congress had just received notification of the withdrawal. “This won’t protect American lives or interests — it leaves Americans sick & America alone,” he wrote.

The nation cannot withdraw until next year, after the presidential election. Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the presumptive Democratic nominee, said on Twitter that he would rejoin the W.H.O. “on my first day as President.”

The president of the United Nations Foundation, Elizabeth Cousens, said in a statement that the administration’s “move to formally withdraw from the W.H.O. amid the greatest public health crisis that Americans and the world have faced in a century is shortsighted, unnecessary, and unequivocally dangerous.”

The W.H.O., founded in 1948, is a postwar creation of the United Nations — and is the world’s premier global health organization. Mr. Trump turned on the organization this spring, accusing it of doing too little to warn the world of the outbreak.

In fact, the agency issued its first alarm on Jan. 4, just five days after the local health department of Wuhan announced a cluster of 27 cases of an unusual pneumonia at a local seafood market, and followed up with a detailed report the next day.

Lawrence Gostin, the director of the W.H.O.’s Collaborating Center on National & Global Health Law, called the decision “among the most ruinous presidential decisions in recent history.”

“It will make Americans less safe during an unprecedented global health crisis,” he said. “And it will significantly weaken U.S. influence on W.H.O. reform and international health diplomacy. This disastrous action is deeply damaging to U.S. national interests.”

Experts acknowledged that the W.H.O. has made some missteps during the pandemic, but said that it has largely done well given the constraints under which it operates. The agency is coordinating clinical trials of treatments, as well as efforts to manufacture and equitably distribute the vaccine worldwide.

Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, said that the administration’s move to withdraw “will both harm global public health and harm the health of the American people.”

Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, tests positive. He has been a skeptic of precautions.

President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, who has repeatedly dismissed the danger posed by the virus, disclosed Tuesday that he has the virus, a development that turbocharged the debate over his cavalier handling of a pandemic that has killed more than 65,000 Brazilians.

Speaking to journalists shortly after noon on Tuesday, the president, 65, said he was tested after experiencing fatigue, muscle pain and a fever.

Mr. Bolsonaro said he was feeling well on Tuesday, which he credited to having taken hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria pill repeatedly promoted by Mr. Trump that has not been proven as a treatment for Covid-19 patients.

“I’m fine, I’m very well,” Mr. Bolsonaro said, standing a few feet away from journalists.

Mr. Bolsonaro has come under criticism for his handling of the pandemic, even as Brazil’s caseload and death toll ballooned in recent months. Brazil’s 1.6 million diagnosed cases make it the second hardest-hit country, trailing only the United States.

Though several of his aides have tested positive in recent months, the president has often eschewed precautions such as wearing a mask and practicing social distancing. Most recently, he attended a luncheon hosted on Saturday by the American ambassador in Brazil to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday.

A photo taken during the lunch and posted on Twitter by Foreign Minister Ernesto Araújo shows the president sitting next to the American ambassador, Todd Chapman, giving a thumbs-up sign at a table decorated with an American flag design. The American embassy said on Tuesday that Mr. Chapman had tested negative, but would remain in isolation.

Mr. Bolsonaro is one of a number of world leaders who have contracted the virus.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain, who was also criticized for seeming to dismiss the risks of the virus early on, tested positive in March and spent three nights in intensive care. President Juan Orlando Hernández of Honduras was released from the hospital on Thursday after spending more than two weeks being treated for Covid-19 and related pneumonia. Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin of Russia said he tested positive in April, and Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan of Armenia said that he and his family tested positive in June.

In a rare rebuke last month, a federal judge admonished Mr. Bolsonaro for failing to wear a mask in public spaces in the capital, Brasília.

As Brazilians awaited the results of the president’s latest virus test, messages posted on social media illustrated how polarized the country had become. Two trending hashtags on Twitter Tuesday morning were #ForçaBolsonaro and #ForçaCorona, the first sending the president strength and the other effectively expressing hope that the president falls ill.

‘None of us really anticipated the amount of community spread,’ Birx said.

Dr. Deborah L. Birx, the Trump administration’s coronavirus response coordinator, made an unusually candid admission in comments to a group of foreign diplomats on Tuesday: She said that local and federal officials were not prepared for the kind of outbreaks spreading across the United States, which she said resulted from younger Americans feeling less inhibited.

“None of us really anticipated the amount of community spread that began in really our 18-to-35-year-old age group,” she said in a brief appearance on an Atlantic Council panel. “This is an age group that was so good and so disciplined through March and April. But when they saw people out and about on social media, they all went out and about.”

Separately, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, cautioned on Tuesday that it was a “false narrative to take comfort in a lower rate of death,” something that Mr. Trump, top White House officials and several governors have stressed in recent days.

“By allowing yourself to get infected because of risky behavior, you are part of the propagation of the outbreak,” Dr. Fauci said at an event with Senator Doug Jones, Democrat of Alabama. “There are so many other things that are very dangerous and bad about this virus. Don’t get yourself into false complacency.”

People under 40 have made up a significant portion of new cases recorded in states with recent outbreaks, a sign of how the virus has spread in bars, restaurants and offices that have reopened.

As cases surge in Florida, more than 40 hospitals in counties across the state reported having no more beds available in their adult intensive care units, according to the state’s health care administration website.

Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican who pushed to reopen the state swiftly, announced Tuesday that he was taking steps to augment hospital capacity. The state has reported at least 213,786 cases, according to a Times database, and at least 3,840 people there have died. The average number of new cases in Florida each day has doubled since late June. On Tuesday, the state added more than 7,300 new cases.

Mr. DeSantis said the state would help create another nursing home for people with the virus, and would send 100 health care workers, mostly nurses, to Miami-Dade County’s public hospital network, Jackson Health System. Some patients seeking medical care for other problems were testing positive, he said, putting a strain on space and staffing as hospitals were forced to isolate them.

“We have abundant capacity, but I think that having some of the personnel support will be very very important,” the governor said.

Miami-Dade County has been hit particularly hard. Its mayor, Carlos A. Gimenez, said that the county’s positivity rate had risen above 20 percent, more than double what it was two weeks ago. And nearly 80 percent of its I.C.U. beds are filled with virus patients, the county reported.

Mr. Gimenez has sent conflicting messages in recent days about some of the steps he was taking to curb the spread in the Miami area. After announcing on Monday that he would close gyms and restaurants, except for takeout and delivery, he later amended his decision and said that he would allow outdoor dining at tables with no more than four people. On Tuesday, he added that he had reached a compromise to allow gyms to stay open as long as people wear masks.

The W.H.O. acknowledges airborne transmission may be important indoors.

After hundreds of experts called for the W.H.O. to review its guidance on the possibility of airborne transmission of the virus, the agency acknowledged on Tuesday that airborne transmission may be important in indoor spaces and said it planned to release updated recommendations in a few days.

Agency scientists said at a news briefing that W.H.O. expert committees are reviewing evidence on transmission. But the possibility of airborne transmission in public settings, especially in “crowded, closed, poorly ventilated settings, cannot be ruled out,” said Dr. Benedetta Allegranzi, who leads the committee on infection prevention and control.

Staff members fielded several questions about transmission of the virus by air, prompted by a widely publicized open letter from 239 experts calling on the agency to review its guidance. Many of the letter’s signatories have collaborated with the W.H.O. and served on its committees.

W.H.O. scientists said that for the past few weeks, the committee has been discussing new evidence on all the ways in which the virus spreads, including by tiny droplets or aerosols.

“We acknowledge that there is emerging evidence in this field as in all other fields,” Dr. Allegranzi said. “And therefore, we believe that we have to be open to this evidence and understand its implications regarding the modes of transmission and also regarding the precautions that need to be taken.”

Agency scientists also offered an explanation for the agency’s seemingly slow pace on revising its recommendations. On average, the scientists review 500 new papers a day, many of which turn out to be of dubious quality. As such, said Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, the W.H.O.’s chief scientist, they have to review the quality of each paper before including it in their analysis.

“Any guidance we put out has implications for billions of people around the world,” she said. “It has to be carefully done.”

Fruit picking in Britain is traditionally done by seasonal workers from Eastern Europe. Over all, 70,000 to 90,000 seasonal workers are needed to pick all the fruit and vegetables that grow in the country.

Because of travel restrictions to curb the spread of the virus, many of those workers haven’t been able to make the trip, have been delayed or have chosen not to come. By the time the pandemic hit Europe, most of the crops had been planted.

As a result of the looming labor shortage, the government started a “Pick for Britain” campaign in April to attract British workers. Prince Charles released a video in which he said the country needed “pickers who are stickers.”

Farmers say they have been pleasantly surprised by the amount of interest in these jobs, but the placement of workers has its challenges. Four-fifths of the people who initially expressed interest drop out before moving to the next stage, according to HOPS Labour Solutions. Some realized that manual labor was not for them, or their furlough ended, or the contracts offered by farms were too long.

Still, many are enjoying the work.

“It’s been really fun, but it’s been tiring and hard work,” said Ella Chandler, 19, a cricket player whose season was cut short. On a recent day, she said, she picked almost 556 pounds of strawberries.

New York City’s Board of Health approved guidelines on Tuesday that will allow more than 3,000 child care centers to open next week with new limits.

The rules will allow no more than 15 children in a room, require children and workers to wear face coverings, limit the sharing of toys and allow for frequent disinfection.

At full capacity, 3,000 child care centers can accommodate 150,000 children.

“Folks need to get back to work, and the only way they can do it is with child care,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference, adding that “the data consistently shows a low infection rate among children when it comes to the coronavirus.”

The lack of child care options remains one of the biggest obstacles to a wider reopening of New York City, which just eased more restrictions after entering Phase 3 on Monday.

After public schools closed in March, the city opened centers for the children of essential workers. But child care has been limited during the pandemic.

It is still unclear what city schools will look like when they reopen in the fall, but it’s unlikely that children will be in school five days per week. Instead, there are likely to be staggered schedules mixed with remote learning.

Dr. Oxiris Barbot, the city’s health commissioner, said that child-care centers will have to meet all state regulations, including daily health screenings and safety plans that include signage for social distancing.

“This decision is rooted in health as well as equity,” Dr. Barbot said in a statement after the vote, emphasizing that white and wealthy parents were more likely to have options that Black and low-income families, as well as other families of color, do not. “Every child deserves a safe place where they can learn and grow.”

During the virtual meeting, teachers and child care center owners complained about how short notice they were given of the changes. They asked questions about the safety of children and staff and questioned how they would pay to put all of the protocols in place.

Health officials said they planned virtual seminars for providers in the next few days.

The board vote rescinds a previous resolution closing child care centers. After the vote, each center would have to develop a safety plan and affirm they meet state guidelines before opening. The city’s Bureau of Child Care will provide technical assistance to centers that want to open and will also conduct inspections to ensure compliance with the guidelines.

Elsewhere in New York:

  • New York’s governor said the state will require travelers from Delaware, Kansas and Oklahoma to quarantine for 14 days, bringing the list of such states to 19. The governors of New Jersey and Connecticut said they would also instruct travelers from those 19 states to quarantine.

  • Nurses who traveled from across the United States to work in New York City hospitals saw the horrors of the virus up close. Now that many of them have returned home to states in the South and the West, they’re facing a new challenge: persuading friends and family to take it seriously.

  • New York City is mired in its worst economic slump since the financial crisis of the 1970s, when it nearly went bankrupt. The losses have been particularly significant among people of color: About one in four of the city’s Asian, Black and Hispanic workers were unemployed last month, compared with about one of every nine white workers, the city comptroller’s office said.

W.H.O. scientists are headed to China to begin an investigation into how the pandemic began.

Two scientists from the World Health Organization will travel to China this weekend to begin preparations for a larger investigation into the origin of the coronavirus.

The epidemiologist and animal-health specialist will start in Wuhan, where the outbreak began late last year, and will collaborate with experts from the Chinese ministries of science, technology and health. Their purpose is to lay the groundwork for a later investigative expedition.

An international team of scientists has used genetic analysis to trace the likely origin of the novel coronavirus to horseshoe bats; the virus may have spread to humans with help of an intermediate species.

But Dr. Michael Ryan, the executive director of the W.H.O.’s health emergencies program, cautioned it could take years to uncover the source. “The answers to these questions are sometimes elusive,” he said, “and it is quite a detective story to find the source and the intermediate pathways by which the virus breached that barrier to humans.”

While the Chinese government has faced criticism for its response to the outbreak, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the W.H.O.’s director-general, noted that Chinese researchers have also begun to investigate its source. “We should not consider as if there has been no movement or no activity until now,” he said.


A presidential election shaped by pandemic may be the most litigious in history.

The election is already one of the most divisive in recent history, and it is on track to become the most litigious, as courts weigh policies for voting during a pandemic, voting rights and even who is responsible for paying the return postage used on absentee ballots.

Voting by mail is the prime battleground, with 34 states and the District of Columbia allowing excuse-free absentee voting, most likely ensuring that November’s election in those places will be conducted largely by mail if the pandemic persists.

Many of the remaining states loosened mail-balloting rules for primaries, and some have moved to do so for November as well. But Republicans — led vocally by Mr. Trump — have insisted, without evidence, that loosening absentee ballot rules invites widespread fraud.

Justin Levitt, an election scholar and associate dean at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, is tracking nearly 130 pandemic-related election lawsuits. The firm of Marc Elias, a lawyer who frequently represents the Democratic Party, is pursuing more than 35 voting rights cases, a number he calls an order of magnitude greater than in the past. And the Republican National Committee, which pledged this spring to spend at least $20 million fighting attempts to loosen voting rules, boasts of filing or intervening in 19 suits to date.

Elsewhere in the United States:

  • Officials in Arizona on Tuesday announced more than 3,500 new cases and a single-day record for the number of deaths, more than 90. More than 50 of those deaths were in Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix. Twenty were reported in Pima County, which includes Tucson. Relatively few deaths were reported in Arizona over the holiday weekend, which may have contributed to Tuesday’s spike.

  • Officials in Montana announced more than 70 new cases on Tuesday, a single-day record in that state. More than 50 of those cases were in Yellowstone County, which includes Billings.

  • On Monday, Texas added more than 9,100 new cases. On Tuesday, it added thousands of new cases.

  • Gov. Tate Reeves of Mississippi, a Republican, said his virus test came back negative. He was screened after his exposure last week to a member of the state’s legislature who tested positive. At least eight Mississippi legislators have tested positive for the virus, Dr. Thomas Dobbs, the state health officer, said Tuesday during a news conference.

  • Nearly 350 public health organizations and agencies released a letter Tuesday to Alex M. Azar II, the health and human services secretary, urging him to champion the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other public health agencies amid “increasing reports of resistance” to their recommendations for fighting the virus.

  • Ohio’s governor, a Republican, issued an order requiring residents to wear masks in public in seven counties that are seeing serious growth in cases, including the counties that contain Columbus, Cincinnati and Cleveland. “This is aimed specifically at the seven counties where we are the most concerned,” he said.

  • All four of the large U.S. airlines have agreed to terms for loans from the federal government under the March stimulus bill, the Treasury Department said Tuesday. Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and Southwest Airlines signed letters of intent under that law, known as the CARES Act, Treasury said. Last week, the department announced that American Airlines had agreed to a five-year $4.75 billion loan.

Mexico’s president faces backlash over plan to visit Trump.

Mr. Trump has called Mexican immigrants “rapists” and “animals” and said that Mexico is “not our friend.” Then there is the matter of a pandemic and an economic crisis.

But the risks of public humiliation or the virus haven’t swayed Mexico’s president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador: he is planning to fly to Washington and greet Mr. Trump on Wednesday to celebrate a new trade deal between the two countries and Canada.

“President Trump’s discourse regarding Mexico has been more respectful than it was previously, for which we are very grateful,” Mr. López Obrador said in a recent news conference. “I am also going to give thanks for the U.S. government’s respectful treatment of us.”

The decision has attracted the opprobrium of Mexican diplomats and opposition figures, who say the visit is incomprehensible.

Bernardo Sepúlveda, a former foreign minister, wrote in an open letter to the government that the trip would “negatively affect national interests” in the long term, noting that Mr. Trump has been “stigmatizing, offending and humiliating Mexican immigrants.”

Emboldening critics is the fact that Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, has declined to attend, citing scheduling conflicts. Political observers said Mr. Trudeau appeared intent on being a role-model-in-chief, following medical guidelines on virus prevention, including avoiding travel.

Some Mexican politicians and pundits view Mr. López Obrador’s visit as capitulation to a leader who has routinely disparaged their country. Arturo Sarukhán, a former Mexican ambassador to the United States, called the trip “a colossal error.”

But Mr. López Obrador insists there is much to gain, and some of his backers agree.

“Mexico needs to have a solid relationship with the United States, no matter who is the president,” said Erick Ordoñez, 29, a supporter who grew up in Chiapas.

Is a safe cookout possible?

With the virus raging in many parts of the United States, new restrictions have left many wondering about the safety of a backyard barbecue or picnic. Here are some tips to help.

Reporting was contributed by Geneva Abdul, Manuela Andreoni, Dan Bilefsky, Julia Calderone, Letícia Casado, Niraj Chokshi, Michael Cooper, Caitlin Dickerson, Manny Fernandez, Michael Gold, Abby Goodnough, Erica L. Green, Jenny Gross, Maggie Haberman, Mike Ives, Niki Kitsantonis, Isabella Kwai, Ernesto Londoño, Apoorva Mandavilli, Jeff Mays, Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio, Patrick McGeehan, Sarah Mervosh, Claire Moses, Aimee Ortiz, Elian Peltier, Catherine Porter, Dagny Salas, Michael D. Shear, Mitch Smith, Katie Thomas, David Waldstein, Noah Weiland, Michael Wines, Sameer Yasir and Karen Zraick.

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