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Coronavirus Live Updates: Reopening States Are Blindsided by Protests

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ImageA group of protesters marched through Central Park on Sunday. New York State will offer free testing to anyone who attended a protest.
Credit…Gabriela Bhaskar for The New York Times

States looking to reopen find themselves ill prepared for mass protests.

Before the eruption of outrage over the killing of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis, debates about reopening centered on whether states had adequate systems in place to detect and treat cases of the coronavirus, which has killed more than 110,000 people in the United States since the beginning of the year.

But as the protests against police brutality enter a third week, public officials are warily watching for signs of a spike in new cases.

And on Sunday, infectious disease experts on Twitter debated how to supply a reliable estimate of the protests’ impact on virus transmission — or whether trying to do so may wrongly be seen as discouraging participation in the growing racial justice movement.

In what he called a back-of-the-envelope estimate, Trevor Bedford, an expert on the virus at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Institute, wrote on Twitter that each day of protests could result in about 3,000 new cases and 50 to 500 deaths. Given the racial disparities seen during the pandemic, he noted, that surge would disproportionately affect black people. “Societal benefit of continued protests must be weighed against substantial potential impacts to health,” he wrote.

Marc Lipsitch, an epidemiologist at Harvard, agreed that Dr. Bedford’s projections were in the ballpark, and said in an email that he had done “a service’’ by making an approximate estimate with explicit assumptions.

But he also noted that if states where the virus was still spreading managed to rein it in, the number of lives saved would “massively overshadow the effects of the protests.” If all states were better able to detect new cases with tests and contact tracing, or reduce transmission by social-distancing and mask-wearing, it would mitigate a rise in infections acquired at protests.

Dr. Bedford wrote that his estimates contained a lot of uncertainty. There is no official estimate for how many people are protesting on an average day, for instance. Still, he thought it was important, he said, to provide a framework grounded in epidemiologic principles to counter the offhand assumptions being made by political pundits. But, in response, other scientists voiced concern that Dr. Bedford’s posts would “give fodder to those opposing civil rights.”

Because it can take up to two weeks for a newly infected person to show symptoms, health experts expect that any uptick in cases will begin to surface this week. Demonstrators in several places have contracted the virus, including in Lawrence, Kan., and Athens, Ga.

Politicians and public health officials have urged demonstrators to wear face coverings and to maintain social distancing. In some places, including New York, Atlanta, Illinois, Los Angeles and Minnesota, officials have also urged protesters to get tested.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said in his daily briefing that New York would seek to conduct 35,000 tests a day in New York City, which has been the site of large, and sometimes fractious, demonstrations for more than a week. He also pledged to dedicate 15 testing sites in the city exclusively to people who have attended demonstrations.

“Please get a test,” the governor said, adding that protesters should “act as if you were exposed,” and notify people that they interact with accordingly.

The F.D.A. says some N95 masks made in China should not be reused.

Credit…Katherine Taylor for The New York Times

The Food and Drug Administration on Sunday changed its policy on decontamination of N95 masks mainly used by health professionals, saying certain masks made in China should not be reused.

Shortages of N95 masks in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic have prompted loosening of some rules by the F.D.A. in the form of emergency use authorizations. The masks, which are intended for use by health care workers and front-line responders, can filter out viruses, unlike cloth and surgical masks, which the public is encouraged to use to limit the spread of larger droplets that can spread the novel coronavirus.

As concerns arose about those shortages around the country, the agency allowed masks that had not been approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, but were in use in other countries, and it also allowed reuse of N95 masks after decontamination.

Now the agency is saying that certain masks made in China and not approved by NIOSH, while still OK for emergency use, may not be reused. The list of masks that are authorized but may not be reused includes a number of models from 3M that are manufactured in China.

For health care workers, the need for masks, and the ones that actually stop viruses, has never been in dispute. But public mask wearing was controversial even before it became politicized. At first, health officials were doubtful of the value of simple masks in protecting the user. But over time, they have agreed that widespread mask wearing reduces the spread of the coronavirus. The World Health Organization waited until Friday to endorse the widespread use of face masks by the public.

The F.D.A. announcement said that testing by NIOSH, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has shown that some respirators manufactured in China may “vary in their design and performance.”

The F.D.A. announcement included several changes in emergency authorizations, some involving the use of decontamination systems, all concerned with mask safety. The agency has been reconsidering and revising decisions on masks as it gains new information, the announcement said. In May, it banned a number of masks that had failed tests.

New Zealand reports no active cases, and pledges a return to life without limitations.

Credit…Mark Baker/Associated Press

Crowds will gather again in New Zealand’s restaurants. Weddings will include as many hugs and guests as the happy couple wants — and even social distancing will not be needed.

New Zealand has no active coronavirus cases and no new cases, officials announced Monday, declaring that life could now return to a form of pre-pandemic normal.

“While the job is not done, there is no denying this is a milestone,” said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, adding: “Thank you New Zealand.”

The country of five million people is one of only a few nations that appear to have eradicated the virus, at least for now. Iceland is another.

Ms. Ardern, who led an approach she described as “go hard go early” — with a severe lockdown that began in late March — said the country could now focus without distraction on economic recovery and boosting local businesses.

“Retail is back without limitation,” she said. “Hospitality is back without limitation; public transport and travel across the country is fully open.”

The return to freedom of movement, however, is not quite complete. With the pandemic continuing to rage elsewhere, the country’s borders are still locked down. Plans for a travel bubble with Australia are in the works, but moving slowly.

Ms. Ardern also announced that QR codes would be appearing wherever people gather. She asked businesses to remind people to scan the codes into the government’s contact tracing app to make any future outbreak easier to track and isolate.

“This is a key new habit we’re asking all New Zealanders to adopt,” she said, adding that it was a lingering bit of extra effort made possible by all the work that had already been completed.

“The virus will be in our world for some time to come,” she said. “We are confident we have eliminated transmission of the virus for now, but elimination is not a point in time; it is a sustained effort.”

Can China keep wildlife off the menu?

Credit…Gilles Sabrié for The New York Times

Bamboo rats lifted Mao Zuqin out of poverty. Now, because of the coronavirus pandemic, poverty threatens again.

Mr. Mao has over the past five years built a viable farm in southern China with 1,100 bamboo rats, a delicacy in the region. But since February, when China suspended the sale and consumption of wildlife, he has had no way to cover his costs or his investments.

China has been lauded for suspending the wildlife trade, identified as the likely source of the outbreak. But the move has left millions of workers like Mr. Mao in the lurch. Their economic fate, along with major loopholes in the restrictions, threatens to undermine China’s pledge to impose a permanent ban.

China’s legislature, the National People’s Congress, adjourned its annual session last month without adopting laws that would end the trade. Instead, it issued a directive to study the enforcement of current rules as it drafts legislation, a process that could take a year or more. The delay is raising fears that China may repeat the experience of the SARS epidemic in 2003, when the country banned sales of an animal linked to the outbreak — the palm civet — only to quietly let the decree lapse after the crisis peaked.

While directives from the Communist Party leadership are rarely challenged openly, a permanent ban has powerful constituencies and interests arrayed against it. And the government has already made exceptions for the use of wild animals for fur and traditional Chinese medicine, which the Communist Party authorities have actively promoted, including the use of bear bile as a treatment for Covid-19.

“The momentum is not favorable,” said Peter J. Li, an associate professor at the University of Houston-Downtown and a China policy adviser for the Humane Society International.

Where is the coronavirus aid promised by the U.S., both overseas and at home, going?

Credit…Orlando Sierra/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Months before an election in which some farm states are major battlegrounds, Democrats and other critics of the administration’s agriculture policies are concerned that new agriculture subsidies, provided by Congress with bipartisan backing, could be doled out to ensure President Trump continues to enjoy the backing of one of his key voting blocs.

The Trump administration’s $28 billion effort in 2018 and 2019 to compensate farmers for losses from its trade wars has been criticized as excessive, devised on the fly and tilted toward states politically important to Republicans, writes Sharon LaFraniere of The Times.

Now the administration is starting to send farmers tens of billions more to offset losses from the coronavirus pandemic, raising questions about how the money will be allocated and whether there is sufficient oversight to guard against partisan abuse of the program.

At the crossroads of the virus, police brutality and unemployment.

Credit…Alyssa Schukar for The New York Times

As protests over police brutality roil cities, this is an extraordinary moment of pain, especially for black Americans who are bearing the brunt of three crises — police violence, crushing unemployment and the deadliest infectious disease threat in a century. Public health experts, activists and lawmakers say the triple threat requires a coordinated response.

“These are interrelated crises — the crisis of racism and inequality that is now converging with the crisis of Covid-19,” said Dr. Leana S. Wen, the former health commissioner of Baltimore who testified before Congress about racial disparities in the pandemic.

The precise toll that the coronavirus has taken on people of color remains unknown; not every state collects data, writes Sheryl Gay Stolberg. An analysis of data from 40 states and the District of Columbia, released last month by the nonpartisan APM Research Lab, found black Americans are more than twice as likely as whites, Latinos or Asian-Americans to die from the coronavirus. In some states, the disparity is much greater.

In addition, devastating job losses are “hitting black workers and their families especially hard,” according to a report by the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal think tank. The unemployment rate for black Americans is 16.8 percent, compared with 12.4 percent for white Americans, according to federal data released Friday. And while the economy is showing hints of recovery, African-Americans are being left out; the black unemployment rate rose slightly in May despite a decline for white workers.

The mass incarceration of black people has only worsened the pandemic’s heavy toll on minorities. Black Americans are incarcerated in state prisons at five times the rate of whites, according to the Sentencing Project, a Washington advocacy group.

On Capitol Hill, lawmakers are trying to respond. Representative Barbara Lee, Democrat of California, introduced legislation last week calling for the creation of a “truth, racial healing and transformation commission” to examine the legacy of slavery and systemic racism. Black Americans, she said, are suffering “a pandemic within a pandemic.”

Tropical Storm Cristobal hits Louisiana, where evacuations may be at odds with social distancing.



Tropical Storm Cristobal Hits Louisiana and Florida

The storm made landfall in southeast Louisiana, causing storm surges, flooding and heavy rain.

“Close to a foot, maybe a little more, of water on the highway. It’s come up considerably since the last post.” Radio: “A shelter has been set up at the municipal auditorium. The threat continues for periods of heavy rain today across southeast Louisiana —”

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The storm made landfall in southeast Louisiana, causing storm surges, flooding and heavy rain.CreditCredit…Lukas Flippo/The Sun Herald, via Associated Press

Tropical Storm Cristobal made landfall in southeast Louisiana, a state already beset by the coronavirus, late on Sunday afternoon, hours after pouring several inches of rain on the New Orleans area, the National Weather Service said.

With at least 42,000 confirmed cases and nearly 3,000 deaths, Louisiana was at point one of states worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Experts believe that multiweek Mardi Gras festivities likely served to accelerate the spread of the highly contagious disease in the New Orleans area.

The state’s health department announced that the storm had forced the closure of some drive-thru and mobile testing sites, from Sunday to Friday. The affected testing sites are run by the Louisiana Army National Guard and the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.

“Testing will resume on Saturday, June 13, pending recovery efforts,” the health department said, adding that tests conducted through “other programs at fixed facilities such as nursing homes and prisons will not be affected.”

Cristobal already brought 3 to 5 feet of flooding across the Louisiana coastline, from the mouth of the Mississippi River eastward into Mississippi, said Danielle Manning, a meteorologist from the Weather Service’s Baton Rouge office.

The storm has forced evacuations and killed many people in El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico.

Cristobal’s stronger wind gusts are mainly over coastal waters and range from 50 to 60 miles per hour. The land-based winds were at 35 to 45 miles per hour, Ms. Manning said, adding that a lot of roads were closed.

As of late Sunday afternoon, the center of the storm was located 65 miles south of New Orleans.

The storm is expected to bring additional bands of rain in the area on Sunday evening. Meteorologists are watching for persistent bands of rain that can cause prolonged rainfall, which can lead to flash flooding.

Case counts in the U.S. have plateaued, but the numbers remain high.

Credit…Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

As the coronavirus crisis wears on in the United States, the country remains stuck on a stubborn plateau. Each day, about 20,000 new cases are identified, and about 1,000 more people die. And progress in one place is undermined by setbacks elsewhere.

Two weeks ago, case numbers around Chicago were stuck at a high level, and alarming growth in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area had shown few signs of subsiding. Both of those regions have since reported sustained drops in new cases.

But in the areas around Phoenix, Dallas and Omaha, where the situation in late May appeared stable, even hopeful, more infections have been turning up. In the county that includes Wichita, Kan., where cases are also rising, the chief health officer said gatherings should be limited to 20 people through early July. The county cited “increased community activity and interaction over the Memorial Day weekend and the following two weeks” as a reason for the continued distancing.

Though the exponential case growth that was reported in March has ended, much of the country has not seen a plunge in case numbers. Nearly two million people in the United States are known to have had the virus, and more than 110,000 have died. Already in June, more than 100,000 new cases and about 5,000 more deaths have been announced.

Case clusters continue to emerge across the country, including at a meatpacking plant in Chicago, a summer camp in Tennessee and a tortilla production facility in northwest Arkansas, a region where outbreaks in several food processing plants are contributing to explosive case growth.

“Don’t let down on your discipline and your awareness of this virus and the damage that it can do,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas said Friday.

The future of America’s job-training programs is in doubt, but some say there’s potential for growth.

The future job-training programs is in doubt at a time when they would seem to be needed more than ever.

Tens of millions of Americans have lost their jobs in the last few months because of the coronavirus pandemic, while the recent unrest over the death of George Floyd, an African-American man killed in police custody in Minneapolis, has been intensified by persistent income inequality and the lack of opportunity for many.

Pointing to those issues, Gerald Chertavian, founder and chief executive of Year Up, asked, “As we rebuild and recover, will it be in a way that is more economically inclusive — that brings more Americans along?”

Trying to translate life-changing experiences to computer screens and video classes is the lockdown-induced experiment now being conducted by Year Up and other programs designed for disadvantaged Americans.

The long-held view was that hands-on personal attention was necessary to lift up students who have to fill gaps in their education, overcome life obstacles and then make their way in the corporate world.

But Mr. Chertavian and the leaders of other programs, which operate in dozens of American cities, from Seattle to Miami, said they saw opportunity beyond their immediate challenges. The forced march online, they said, has triggered a drastic rethinking across the education-to-employment field and will most likely bring lasting change — and perhaps open the door to significant expansion.

New York City prepares to reopen for business.

Credit…James Estrin/The New York Times

Just over three months since its first coronavirus case was confirmed, New York City is set on Monday to take its first steps toward reopening.

As many as 400,000 workers could begin returning to construction jobs, manufacturing sites and retail stores in the city’s first phase of reopening — a surge of normalcy that seemed almost inconceivable several weeks ago, when as many as 800 people a day were dying from Covid-19.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Sunday that outdoor, socially distanced graduations could be held in New York State beginning June 26, with up to 150 people.

Over the course of the pandemic, more than 211,000 people in New York have been infected, and nearly 22,000 have died.

State and city officials said they were optimistic that the city would begin to spring back to life. Testing is growing, reaching 33,000 people on a recent day. New infections are down to around 500 a day — half as many as just a few weeks ago.

But the road back will be challenging. More than 885,000 jobs vanished during the outbreak, and strong gains are not expected for the city until 2022. And the reopening has been complicated by the vast protests for racial justice, forcing government officials and business owners to adjust their plans.

“We were planning to make a lot of noise saying, ‘Hey, we’re back,’” said Ken Giddon, an owner of Rothmans, a small clothing chain. “Now we don’t think that would be appropriate. I think New York City needs a week or two of healing before a week or two of selling.”

Cases reach a high as India lifts more restrictions.

Credit…Rafiq Maqbool/Associated Press

India reported a record number of coronavirus infections on Sunday, even as officials prepared to lift some of the nation’s strictest lockdown measures.

With nearly 10,000 new infections, India has surpassed Spain and now has the world’s fifth-highest caseload — about 245,000 infections and 6,929 deaths.

Even as the number of cases continued to skyrocket, Indian officials have moved ahead with easing a nationwide lockdown by reopening shopping malls, places of worship and hotels on Monday. The authorities said the relaxations are needed to get the economy restarted.

After Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced restrictions in late March, states sealed their borders, businesses shut and all 1.3 billion Indians were ordered to stay inside. Since then, more than 120 million people have lost their jobs and some industries have edged toward bankruptcy.

In recent weeks, many restrictions have been rolled back. Last month, train and bus services and domestic air flights resumed. Most businesses outside hot spots were allowed to reopen.

American health care workers grapple with a pandemic amid widespread protests.

Credit…Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Across the United States, doctors and other health care workers have been stopping work in recent days for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the length of time George Floyd, a black man, was pinned down by a white police officer’s knee before he died.

For doctors in New York who have strained to meet the challenges of coronavirus care for months, participating in the demonstrations has been especially poignant. For some black physicians, the protests, like the coronavirus pandemic, are a reminder of the unequal health risks that black Americans face. Black Americans comprise 13 percent of the U.S. population, but 24 percent of deaths from Covid-19.

Many say they view the deaths of black people at the hands of the police as a public health issue. But they also express worries that large gatherings will cause a second wave of coronavirus cases, and they are balancing their involvement with calls for protesters and police officers to adhere to public health guidelines.

“As a physician, when I hear ‘I can’t breathe’ I’m usually rushing to someone’s bedside,” said Dr. Teresa Smith, an emergency doctor at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, who thought of her patients with respiratory failure when she saw the video of the killing of Mr. Floyd. “To see George Floyd crying — that, that was personal for me as a physician of color.”

Worldwide protests against racism gain momentum as virus cases near 7 million.



‘George Floyd Is Here’: Rome Protesters Denounce Racism

Thousands of demonstrators gathered in Rome to oppose racism in the United States and Italy, as global protests persist in response to George Floyd’s killing.

“No justice! No peace!” “No justice! No peace!” “When I say black lives, you say matter!” “Black lives!” “Matter!” “Black lives!” “Matter!”

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Thousands of demonstrators gathered in Rome to oppose racism in the United States and Italy, as global protests persist in response to George Floyd’s killing.CreditCredit…Fabio Frustaci/EPA, via Shutterstock

The global protests denouncing racism and police brutality showed no sign of slowing down over the weekend, with more demonstrations expected on Sunday in cities like Rome and London.

Inspired by the anti-racism protests that have swept the United States after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the marches have been unrelenting even as global cases of the virus approach seven million and the death toll nears 400,000.

Chanting “Black lives matter” and “No justice, no peace,” thousands of people gathered in Rome on Sunday to protest racism in the United States and in Italy.

“As many of you know, there is a very serious problem with state-condoned violence” in the United States, said Fatimah Provillon, a New Jersey native who has lived in Rome for 13 years, told the crowd of mostly young Italians in the Piazza del Popolo. “But it’s not just a U.S. problem — it’s happening all over the world.”

The rallies have unfolded for the past week around the world. More than 500 people gathered in Antwerp, Belgium, last Monday despite an official ban on large crowds because of the coronavirus. All protesters respected social distancing and wore masks, according to the police, who did not to intervene with the demonstration. Another approved demonstration was planned for Sunday afternoon in Brussels.

More than 55,000 Belgians have also signed a petition to remove statues of King Leopold II, who oversaw the brutal colonization of Congo in the 19th century. The petition calls for the removal of all monuments until June 30, the 60th anniversary of Congo’s independence. According to organizers, there is no place for the commemoration of Leopold II in Brussels, the capital, which is home to over 200 global nationalities.

Last week, people threw red paint on a statue of Leopold II in the city of Ghent, and gagged his face with a message that read, “I can’t breathe,” referring to Mr. Floyd’s words in his last moments as a white officer pressed a knee to his neck.

Offices fortified against the virus might be unrecognizable.

Credit…Kazuhiro Nogi/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Now that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended sweeping changes to American offices, companies are preparing elaborate new routines intended to keep employees healthy.

In many cases, the changes will transform workaday offices into fortified sites resembling biohazard labs.

At Cisco, for example, employees will have to log into an app every day and answer several questions about their health. Those cleared by the app can head to the office, where they will face a temperature check. Anyone with a fever will be sent home.

Simply complying with the C.D.C. suggestions will present major hurdles for many companies, especially those in skyscrapers and dense urban centers.

For example, the agency recommends limiting elevator use to maintain social distancing. Some companies lease space in crowded office buildings, sharing elevators with many other tenants.

Even for companies that occupy entire buildings, elevators are a vexing problem.

“It can’t be two people per elevator in a high rise. That’s not just feasible,” said Rob Falzon, a vice chairman at Prudential, which occupies several large buildings in Newark. “It would take us two to three hours just to get everyone in.”

One possible solution? Prudential is considering putting ultraviolet lighting in elevators so surfaces are continuously disinfected.

U.S. patients sickened in Mexico are overwhelming California hospitals.

Credit…Ariana Drehsler/Reuters

A hospital in El Centro, Calif., that has a 20-bed intensive care unit has been overwhelmed with residents of the Imperial Valley, as well as Americans and green card holders fleeing overcrowded clinics and hospitals in Mexicali, a city of 1.1 million just over the U.S.-Mexico border.

To ease the pressure, hospitals in nearby San Diego and Riverside counties began accepting transfers in April. But the intensifying crisis has prompted California to enlist hospitals in Santa Barbara, San Francisco and Sacramento to accept patients.

The swelling numbers of Covid-19 patients entering the United States from Mexico comes as infection rates have dropped in many parts of California, enabling businesses to reopen.

“We worked hard to flatten the curve in California,” said Carmela Coyle, president of the California Hospital Association, who asked hospital systems across the state for help. “Now we have a surge in the Imperial Valley because the situation is so severe in Mexicali.”

The number of cases in Imperial County reached 2,540 on Friday, up from 1,076 two weeks earlier. The county has the highest infection rate in California, with one in every 71 residents having contracted the virus. Per capita, the El Centro area has reported the second-most cases of any U.S. metropolitan area over the past two weeks.


China again denies that it concealed the virus’s early spread.

Credit…Hector Retamal/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The Chinese government on Sunday strongly defended its handling of the coronavirus outbreak, pushing back at criticism that officials had suppressed early reports of the disease and contending instead that China had set a strong example for how to combat it.

A top official said at a news conference in Beijing that the Chinese government and state news media had provided early, timely and extensive information since the first cases appeared in Hubei Province late last year. In an apparent reference to the Trump administration’s numerous assertions that China is to blame for the subsequent global pandemic, he complained bitterly about what he described as foreign lies and slanders.

“Those are completely unwarranted and unreasonable,” said the official, Xu Lin, who oversees the State Council Information Office. The agency published a detailed report on Sunday about China’s epidemic response.

Ma Xiaowei, the minister in charge of the National Health Commission, also said that China had “not delayed in any way” the release of information about the disease.

A report published by Mr. Xu’s agency on Sunday provides a detailed timeline of China’s epidemic response. But while Chinese scientists moved quickly to identify the new disease and share their findings internationally, political leaders were slower to act, ordering police investigations of doctors who tried to sound the alarm in late December.

Since the outbreak began, China has recorded more than 89,000 cases and more than 4,600 deaths.

The U.S. accusations against China continued on Sunday, with Senator Rick Scott, Republican of Florida, saying that the United States had evidence that China was trying to slow down or sabotage the development of a Covid-19 vaccine by Western countries.

“We have evidence that communist China is trying to sabotage us or slow it down,” Mr. Scott said during an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation. “China does not want us and England and Europe to do it first. They have decided to be an adversary to Americans and I think to democracy around the world.”

Mr. Scott declined to give any evidence or details of his claim, but said it had come through the intelligence community.

In other global news:

  • Pope Francis on Sunday urged people to keep following the authorities’ rules as their countries emerged from coronavirus lockdowns. “Be careful, don’t cry victory, don’t cry victory too soon,” he told a crowd gathered in St. Peter’s Square for a weekly blessing for the second time since Italy eased its own lockdown. The rules, he said, will “help us to avoid the virus getting ahead” again.

  • Brazil’s government on Friday removed comprehensive numbers on coronavirus cases and deaths from the Health Ministry’s website, claiming without offering evidence that state officials had been reporting inflated figures to secure more federal funding. The accusation outraged public health experts. And an analysis by The New York Times found that virus deaths in five Brazilian cities appeared to be vastly underreported.

  • Nearly 300 people who were stranded in Peru for months by coronavirus travel restrictions have returned to Spain after organizing their own charter flight. Roberto González, one of the passengers, told local news outlets after landing in Madrid on Saturday that the Spanish Embassy in Lima had provided “limited” help, mostly to secure landing rights for the charter plane.

  • Japan’s embrace of face masks may be the secret to its virus-fighting success. Scientists have found a correlation between high levels of mask-wearing — whether as a matter of culture or policy — and success in containing the virus.

  • The economy of Portugal, which is highly dependent on tourism, is expected to shrink 6.9 percent this year because of the coronavirus outbreak, the government said. The decline, it said, would be the “biggest contraction registered in recent decades.”

Reporting was contributed by Katrin Bennhold, Keith Bradsher, Damien Cave, Maria Cramer, Sandra E. Garcia, David Gelles, Emma Goldberg, J. David Goodman, James Gorman, Amy Harmon, Lara Jakes, Miriam Jordan, David D. Kirkpatrick, Sharon LaFraniere, Steve Lohr, Patricia Mazzei, Raphael Minder, Aimee Ortiz, Elisabetta Povoledo, Monika Pronczuk, Rick Rojas, Anna Schaverien, Kai Schultz, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Mitch Smith and Karen Zraick.

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