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Coronavirus Live Updates: Risks of Reopening Economy Weighed

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the federal government’s top infectious disease expert, after the doctor said more lives could have been saved from the coronavirus if the country had been shut down earlier.

Mr. Trump reposted a Twitter message that said “Time to #FireFauci” as he rejected criticism of his slow initial response to the pandemic that has now killed more than 22,000 people in the United States. The president privately has been irritated at times with Dr. Fauci, but the Twitter message was the most explicit he has been in letting that show publicly.

Mr. Trump retweeted a message from a former Republican congressional candidate. “Fauci is now saying that had Trump listened to the medical experts earlier he could’ve saved more lives,” said the tweet by DeAnna Lorraine, who got less than 2 percent of the vote in an open primary against Speaker Nancy Pelosi last month. “Fauci was telling people on February 29th that there was nothing to worry about and it posed no threat to the US at large. Time to #Fire Fauci.”

In reposting the message, Mr. Trump added: “Sorry Fake News, it’s all on tape. I banned China long before people spoke up.”

The tweet came amid a flurry of messages blasted out by the president on Sunday defending his handling of the coronavirus, which has come under sharp criticism, and pointing the finger instead at China, the World Health Organization, President Barack Obama, the nation’s governors, Congress, Democrats generally and the news media.

Mr. Trump did not “ban China,” but he did block non-American citizens or permanent residents who had been in China in the past 14 days from coming into the United States starting on Feb. 2. Despite the policy, 40,000 Americans and other authorized travelers have still come into the country from China since that order.

Dr. Fauci and other public health experts were initially skeptical that the China travel restrictions would be useful when the president was first considering them, but then changed their minds and told Alex M. Azar II, the secretary of health and human services, on the morning of Jan. 30 that they supported them.

Mr. Trump has repeatedly pointed back to those travel limits to defend his handling of the pandemic, but experts have said the limits were useful mainly to buy time that the administration did not then use to ramp up widespread testing and impose social distancing policies before infections could begin growing exponentially.

By mid-February, advisers had drafted a list of measures like school closures, sports and concert cancellations and stay-at-home orders, but the president did not embrace them until mid-March.

Dr. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, said on Sunday that earlier imposition of such policies would have made a difference.

“I mean, obviously, you could logically say that if you had a process that was ongoing and you started mitigation earlier, you could have saved lives,” he said on “State of the Union” on CNN. “Obviously, no one is going to deny that. But what goes into those kinds of decisions is complicated. But you’re right. Obviously, if we had, right from the very beginning, shut everything down, it may have been a little bit different. But there was a lot of pushback about shutting things down.”

Dr. Fauci’s comments, and the president’s pushback, come at a critical time as Mr. Trump wrestles with how fast to begin reopening the country. Public health experts like Dr. Fauci have urged caution about resuming normal life too soon for fear of instigating another wave of illness and death, while the president’s economic advisers and others are anxious to restart businesses at a time when more than 16 million Americans have been put out of work.

Oil-producing nations agree to cut production sharply.

Oil-producing nations on Sunday completed the largest output cut ever negotiated, an unprecedented coordinated effort by Russia, Saudi Arabia and the United States to stabilize oil prices and, indirectly, global financial markets.

The agreement, cutting production by nearly 10 million barrels a day, appeared to put a floor on oil prices, which have been sinking in recent weeks as the coronavirus pandemic caused major economies to seize up, halting car commuting, air travel and much more.

Before the crisis, 100 million barrels of oil each day fueled global commerce, but demand is now up to 35 percent lower than that daily pace, a plunge that has crushed oil prices. While significant, the cuts agreed to on Sunday are still far short of what is needed to bring oil production in line with demand.

The agreement by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and other producers will slash 9.7 million barrels a day in May and June, or close to 10 percent of the world’s output.

It was not immediately clear if the Trump administration made a formal commitment to cut production in the United States. There is no international mechanism to strictly enforce such production agreements and cheating is common. With prices plummeting, many companies have already reduced output, perhaps to levels approaching those under discussion.

While slightly smaller than a tentative pact reached last Thursday, the deal should bring some relief to struggling economies in the Middle East and Africa and global oil companies, including American firms that directly and indirectly employ 10 million workers. Analysts expect oil prices, which soared above $100 a barrel only six years ago, to remain below $40 for the foreseeable future. The American oil benchmark price was just under $23 a barrel on Thursday.

“This is at least a temporary relief for the energy industry and for the global economy,” said Per Magnus Nysveen, head of analysis for Rystad Energy, a Norwegian consultancy. “The industry is too big to be let to fail.”

The agreement is the result of President Trump’s mediation of a price war that had enmeshed Russia, Saudi Arabia and even Mexico for a couple of days. The deal was struck after more than a week of telephone conversations involving Mr. Trump, who desperately wanted to help the ailing American oil industry, the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, and President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.

At one of the largest pork processing plants in the U.S., 238 employees got the virus. Now, it’s closing.

The operator of one of the country’s largest pork processing plants said on Sunday that it would shut down its facility in Sioux Falls, S.D., after 238 workers tested positive for the coronavirus. South Dakota’s governor said the outbreak represented more than half of the active cases in her state.

The plant, which is run by Smithfield Foods Inc., has 3,700 employees and produces 130 million servings of food per week, accounting for 4 to 5 percent of pork production in the United States, the company said.

Kenneth M. Sullivan, president and chief executive of Smithfield Foods, said in a statement on Sunday that the plant’s closure would put a significant strain on the food supply.

“The closure of this facility, combined with a growing list of other protein plants that have shuttered across our industry, is pushing our country perilously close to the edge in terms of our meat supply,” Mr. Sullivan said. “It is impossible to keep our grocery stores stocked if our plants are not running. These facility closures will also have severe, perhaps disastrous, repercussions for many in the supply chain, first and foremost our nation’s livestock farmers.”

On Saturday, Gov. Kristi Noem and the Sioux Falls mayor, Paul TenHaken, urged the plant to close for at least 14 days to stop the spread of the virus.

Smithfield officials said on Sunday that the company would continue to compensate its employees for the next two weeks and that some plant operations would occur on Tuesday to process the pork that was already in its inventory.

The food company, citing the Food and Drug Administration’s statement on food safety, said there was no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with the transmission of Covid-19.

Mr. Sullivan said that the food and agriculture sectors had not been immune from the spread of the virus.

“Numerous plants across the country have Covid-19 positive employees,” he said. “We have continued to run our facilities for one reason: to sustain our nation’s food supply during this pandemic. We believe it is our obligation to help feed the country, now more than ever.”

The closure came as food suppliers grapple with maintaining the safety of workers, many of whom are African-Americans, Latinos and immigrants, while keeping up with demand. Some plants have even offered financial incentives to keep employees on the job — cutting, deboning and packing chicken and beef.

At a Tyson Foods poultry plant in Georgia, three workers have recently died from the coronavirus, while the company halted operations at a pork plant in Iowa after more than two dozen workers tested positive.

JBS USA, the world’s largest meat processor, confirmed the death of one worker at a Colorado facility and shuttered a plant in Pennsylvania for two weeks. Cargill this week also closed a facility in Pennsylvania, where it produces steaks, ground beef and ground pork.

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Questions loom about reopening the economy: ‘You can’t just pick a date and flip a switch.’

President Trump has been open about his eagerness to see the economy and some semblance of business as usual spring back to life as soon as possible. His surgeon general, Jerome Adams, in a television interview on Friday noted the potential for reopening the country — “place by place, bit by bit,” beginning as early as next month.

But on Sunday, officials still in the thick of the grim reality caused by the coronavirus pandemic urged caution, fearing that relaxing protective measures too early could cause the virus to surge once again.

In interviews on morning talk shows, governors and mayors acknowledged the delicate balance between aggressively combating the virus and limiting the economic pain, but they said that public health concerns were their priority.

“We could be pouring gas on the fire, even inadvertently,” Gov. Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey, a Democrat, said in an interview with CNN. He said that returning to a semblance of life before the outbreak was crucial but, “It’s not Job No. 1., because right now, the house is on fire and Job No. 1 is to put the fire out.”

Mr. Trump has acknowledged the gravity of the question of when to reopen the country. But the decision is not entirely, or even primarily, his to make. And many governors have expressed wariness about lifting stay-at-home orders prematurely.

“Really, right now, the first thing is saving lives and keeping people safe,” Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland, a Republican, said on ABC’s “This Week.” “We do also have to think about how do we eventually ramp up and get some folks back to work. But you can’t just pick a date and flip a switch. I don’t think it’s going to be that simple.”

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on CNN that reopening the country would not be an “all or none” proposition. He said that governors would need to manage a “rolling re-entry,” guided by testing results and local risk levels.

“I think it could probably start, at least in some ways, maybe next month,” he said on the network’s “State of the Union” program. But he added, “Don’t hold me to it.”

Policymakers should be thinking about the coronavirus as an 18-month problem, said Neel Kashkari, a Federal Reserve president who helped lead the response to the 2008 financial crisis as a Treasury Department official. “This could be a long, hard road that we have ahead of us,” he said.

Mr. Kashkari, who is president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, said that if the economic pain lasts, it could spill into the banking sector, even necessitating government intervention.

“People don’t pay their mortgage, a coffee shop doesn’t pay their landlord, the landlord then can’t pay the bank’s mortgage,” he said.

“Right now the banks are well capitalized relative to where they were in 2006,” he said, but if “this goes on long enough, it could produce strains on the banking sector, and then the Fed, and Congress and Treasury, would have to step in to make sure that the banks are sound.”

On Easter, many watched services online. Millions streamed Andrea Bocelli. And some pastors defied restrictions.

Millions of Christians celebrated Easter separated from their extended families and fellow believers, watching religious services broadcast on television or streamed online.

In Rome, Pope Francis presided over Mass in a largely empty St. Peter’s Basilica, describing “the contagion of hope” as he acknowledged that for many, “this is an Easter of solitude, lived amid the sorrow and hardship that the pandemic is causing, from physical suffering to economic difficulties.”

In Milan, the capital of Italy’s hard hit Lombardy region, the tenor Andrea Bocelli gave a performance in the city’s empty Duomo cathedral. The “Music for Hope” live stream had been viewed nearly 21 million times on YouTube as of Sunday night.

The vast majority of American churches celebrated virtually. At St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan prayed over the communion cup and wine, his voice echoing across empty pews to the locked front door, as parishioners watched online.

In Franklin, Ky., Victory Hill Church attempted a compromise, hosting a service at a drive-in movie theater, where people worshiped in their cars. A federal judge in that state on Saturday had blocked the mayor of Louisville, Greg Fischer, from restricting drive-in church services, noting that drive-in liquor stores were still open.

A handful of pastors in states like Kansas, Louisiana and Mississippi defied stay-at-home guidance and hosted in-person worship services, risking the health of their followers and their own arrests. They argued that the rules were attempts to limit Christian practice.

“We’re having church because that’s what God wants us to do,” Scott Hanks, the pastor of Heritage Baptist Church in Lawrence, Kansas, said during his sermon. The Supreme Court of Kansas late Saturday had upheld Gov. Laura Kelly’s order limiting the size of church services on Easter Sunday to 10 people, but Dr. Hanks defied the order.

“Where we’re at in Kansas, there was no reason for the governor to make a law against churches, zero reason,” he said. “It has been fluffed up.”

In Emmett, Idaho, Ammon Bundy, the man who once led an armed takeover of an Oregon wildlife refuge, helped organize an Easter service at an old factory building, drawing more than 100 people who sought to defy stay-at-home mandates. He said people needed to challenge government orders that infringed on constitutional rights.

“We want to be with each other,” Mr. Bundy said. “We thrive on that. It’s part of our life. It’s part of liberty.”

Diego Rodriguez, who presided over the service, encouraged the crowd to mingle and meet new people, so the attendees went around shaking hands. He spoke behind a podium that had a sign that read, “DEFY MARTIAL LAW.”

The Department of Justice may take action next week against local leaders who have restricted in-person gatherings. Attorney General William P. Barr is “monitoring” government regulation of religious services, a Department of Justice spokeswoman said in a tweet on Saturday night.

Walt Disney World will furlough 43,000 workers.

The Florida resort Walt Disney World, grappling with stay-at-home orders and the uncertain future of leisure travel because of the pandemic, will furlough about 43,000 workers, the company and a union coalition representing the workers said.

In mid-March, Disney theme parks worldwide closed, including Disney World in Florida and Disneyland Resort in California.

The furloughs, which are set to begin on April 19, were part of an agreement between Disney World and the Service Trades Council Union, a collection of six unions representing the 43,000 workers at the theme park resort in Florida.

“This is a decision that the union doesn’t like,” Eric Clinton, president of Unite Here Local 362, said on Saturday in a Facebook Live announcement. “However, it’s within the company’s right to lay off and furlough employees in this situation.”

The workers, who are expected to be called back to their jobs, will be able to keep their health benefits during the furlough period. Also, they will not lose their seniority or have their pay reduced, Mr. Clinton said on Sunday. The workers earn $13 to $20 an hour, he said.

The employees will be immediately eligible to enroll in state unemployment benefits. The company has agreed to provide members who have health care benefits with free health care for a year.

Employees of a Massachusetts drug company unwittingly spread the coronavirus.

Among the earliest examples in the U.S. of what epidemiologists call “superspreading events” of Covid-19: a February meeting of executives at the Massachusetts drug company Biogen.

Unlike the most infamous clusters of cases stemming from a nursing home outside Seattle or a 40th birthday party in Connecticut, the Biogen cluster happened at a meeting of top health care professionals whose job it was to fight disease, not spread it.

“The smartest people in health care and drug development — and they were completely oblivious to the biggest thing that was about to shatter their world,” said John Carroll, editor of Endpoints News, which covers the biotech industry.

The official count of those sickened — 99, including employees and their contacts, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health — includes only those who live in that state. The true number across the United States is certainly higher. The first two cases in Indiana were Biogen executives. So was the first known case in Tennessee, and six of the earliest cases in North Carolina.

At least two of the company’s senior executives have tested positive. Citing privacy concerns, the company has declined to name them, even as other chief executives in biotech have disclosed their positive tests.

The outbreak in New York may be leveling off, but at a high level.

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Flattening of Curve in N.Y. Continues, Cuomo Says

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York said coronavirus hospitalizations and deaths in New York were continuing to flatten, but it remains unclear when businesses and schools will reopen.

Total hospitalization, 18,700, but you see the 18, 18, 18, 18. That’s the so-called flattening of the curve. You’re not seeing a great decline in the numbers, but you’re seeing a flattening. And you’re also seeing a recurrence of the terrible news, which is the number of lives lost, which is 758. You see also a flattening in the number of lives lost, at a terribly high rate. But if you look back over the past several days, you’ll see there’s a certain continuity to that number. Again, that’s the one number that I look forward to seeing drop as soon as I open my eyes in the morning. We want to reopen as soon as possible. Everyone does on a societal level. Everyone does on a personal level. Let’s just end this nightmare, right? “Groundhog Day.” You get up every day, it’s the same routine. You almost, you almost lose track of what day of the week it is because they don’t even have meaning anymore. And there’s all sorts of anxiety and stress that we’re all dealing with. So, we want to reopen as soon as possible. The caveat is, we need to be smart in the way we reopen. What does smart mean? It means a coordinated approach, a regional approach and a safe approach. Nobody wants to pick between a public health strategy and an economic strategy. And as governor of this state, I’m not going to pick one over the other.

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Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York said coronavirus hospitalizations and deaths in New York were continuing to flatten, but it remains unclear when businesses and schools will reopen.CreditCredit…Gabby Jones for The New York Times

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Sunday that 758 more people had died in New York State, but that other data showed that virus’s spread was slowing in the state.

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The governor’s morning update tracked closely with news from the state over the last week: daily death tolls approaching 800 and the rate of hospitalizations continuing to fall. The governor compared his experience of the outbreak to the film “Groundhog Day,” saying that each day felt like a repeat of the day before.

Mr. Cuomo again criticized the federal response to the coronavirus, saying that money had been misdirected, with states that were less hard hit getting a disproportionate share.

He said that he would sign an executive order requiring employers at essential businesses to provide employees with cloth or surgical face masks to wear when interacting with the public.

In all, the state has now had 9,385 deaths related to the coronavirus, the governor said.

Should the U.S. rescue Boeing?

Boeing, the nation’s largest aerospace company and its second-largest military contractor, is considering seeking assistance from as many as three of the federal programs established by the $2 trillion coronavirus relief package signed into law last month by Mr. Trump.

After initially saying it had plenty of options and would not accept taxpayer help if it came with certain strings attached, the company is now working closely with the administration to see if it can work out a deal.

Inquiries into the crashes of the 737 Max led to revelations of corner-cutting and distrust, leaving Boeing mired in the worst crisis of its history. In December, the company dismissed Dennis A. Muilenburg as chief executive and later replaced him with David Calhoun, who continues to grapple with a wide array of operational and financial problems — not least the drying up of demand from the airline industry for new jets in a period when air travel has been severely depressed.

Yet even its critics acknowledge that Boeing is important to the nation’s security and economy, and that if its problems deepen, they could have wide-reaching ripple effects.

Boeing employs more than 150,000 people in the United States, while supporting more than a million additional workers through a supply chain that includes thousands of businesses. Those operations span the country, giving Boeing clout in the communities and the Capitol Hill offices of many influential lawmakers, as well as in the White House.

“Making sure that Boeing is strong again is very, very powerful and very important, and we’ll do whatever is necessary to do,” Mr. Trump said on Friday at a briefing on the government’s coronavirus response. He noted that the company “has not asked for aid yet, but I think they probably will.”

Behind the president’s delayed response to the pandemic.

Throughout January, as President Trump repeatedly played down the seriousness of the virus and focused on other issues, an array of figures inside this government — including top White House advisers and experts deep in the cabinet departments and intelligence agencies — identified the threat, sounded alarms and made clear the need for aggressive action.

Dozens of interviews and a review of emails and other records by The New York Times revealed many previously unreported details of the roots and extent of his halting response:

  • The National Security Council office responsible for tracking pandemics received intelligence reports in early January predicting the spread of the virus, and within weeks raised options like keeping Americans home from work and shutting down large cities.

  • Despite Mr. Trump’s denial, he was told at the time about a Jan. 29 memo produced by his trade adviser, Peter Navarro, laying out in striking detail the potential risks of a coronavirus pandemic.

  • The health and human services secretary directly warned Mr. Trump of the possibility of a pandemic during a call on Jan. 30, the second warning he delivered to the president about the virus. The president said he was being alarmist.

  • The health secretary publicly announced in February that the government was establishing a “surveillance” system in five American cities to measure the spread of the virus. It was delayed for weeks, leaving administration officials with almost no insight into how rapidly the virus was spreading.

Asked on Sunday morning whether lives would have been saved if Mr. Trump had followed recommendations on social distancing in late February, Dr. Fauci said on CNN, “It is what it is; we are where we are right now.” He added: “Obviously you could logically say that if you had a process that was ongoing and you started mitigation earlier, you could have saved lives, nobody’s going to deny that.”

Dr. Tom Inglesby, director of the Center for Health Security of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health said on “Fox News Sunday” that “if we had acted on some of those warnings earlier, we would be in a much better position in terms of diagnostics and possibly masks and personal protective equipment and getting our hospitals ready.”

F.D.A. chief urges caution on antibody tests.

Coronavirus antibody tests have not always been accurate in other countries, and the United States should be careful not to approve their use too quickly, Dr. Stephen Hahn, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said on Sunday.

Antibody tests are not designed to detect whether someone is infected now; they tell doctors whether the person has been exposed to the virus at some point, and may have acquired some degree of immunity. So far, the F.D.A. has approved only one such test.

“There are a number on the market that we haven’t validated,” Dr. Hahn said on the ABC program “This Week.” “We do expect that relatively soon.”

Referring to reports from other countries of inaccurate antibody tests, he added: “I think it’s really important for the American people to know that we need tests that are accurate, reliable and reproducible.”

In an appearance on the NBC program “Meet the Press,” Dr. Hahn said, “What we don’t want are wildly inaccurate tests.”

Brooklyn hospital sees hope, and new life.

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Pregnant in the Coronavirus Epicenter

The Brooklyn Hospital Center’s maternity floor is a place of anxiety for staff and patients. But amid the fear, mothers with Covid-19 are experiencing moments of joy and gratitude.

This is Precious Anderson. She was pregnant. About two months before her due date, she had severe Covid-19. Actually so severe that her baby had to be delivered by c-section to try to save both of their lives. In fact, she couldn’t actually visit her baby “Here you go, Precious.” And then it was amazing because we got to watch her video chat with a nurse who was with her baby and Precious Anderson got to see her baby, David. “Wonderful, right?” “He’s so handsome, Precious. He’s very handsome.” We actually went to visit him and he was moving around. He was stretching, pointing his toes like a little dancer. He was so, so cute. Actually he tested negative for Covid. At this hospital, seven of the pregnant who tested positive for Covid have given birth and their babies have generally done very well. None of them have been confirmed to have Covid. I’m Sheri Fink. I’m a correspondent at the New York Times. For the past several weeks, Victor Blue, a photographer, and I have been able to spend time at the Brooklyn Hospital Center. And for the story published this week, we spent time with pregnant mothers on maternity and in the intensive care unit. Dr. Erroll Byer is the Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology. And he said that this moment, which should be such a joyful moment in a family’s life, bringing new life into the world, that, in fact, now it’s anxiety provoking. “How you doing?” What struck me was people doing the typical things you would do on a maternity ward, but doing them with masks, with face shields, with gloves, with gowns. Many, many of the staff members on the maternity ward and in the neonatal I.C.U. are out sick. So there is a level of fear. Basharrie McKenzie was also on the intensive care unit. And she’s pregnant, and she got very sick with Covid. She was so afraid. And of course, it’s really hard because you’re alone. You can’t have any visitors. When I met her this Monday, she was so much improved. “My three-year-old daughter keeps me going.” And she was able to continue her pregnancy. “Your respirations are pretty okay.” “Okay?” “Very good.” So, there are a lot of very sad stories with Covid-19 — people in the intensive care unit — many, many of them not making it. So it was amazing to see this young woman, who had been so, so sick, was able to pack up her bags and actually go home. And she’s one of the success stories. “You made it.” “You’re telling a great story, honey.” “We’re proud.” “You got to have heart, and you had it.” “So we’re very proud of you.” “Thank you for allowing us to take care of you.” “Thank you.” I spoke with the intensive care unit doctors and they said when people like Ms. McKenzie get to leave the hospital, get to come off a ventilator, out of an intensive care unit, and recover enough to go home that it’s giving them the energy to keep going.

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The Brooklyn Hospital Center’s maternity floor is a place of anxiety for staff and patients. But amid the fear, mothers with Covid-19 are experiencing moments of joy and gratitude.CreditCredit…Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

The obstetrics unit at Brooklyn Hospital Center, which delivers about 2,600 babies a year, is typically a place of celebration and fulfilled hopes. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, it has been transformed.

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Nearly 200 babies have arrived since the beginning of March, according to Dr. Erroll Byer Jr., chairman of the department of obstetrics and gynecology. Twenty-nine pregnant or delivering women have had suspected or confirmed cases of Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus. They have been kept separate from other patients. Mothers-to-be are confined to their rooms, and visitors are kept to a minimum. Multiple doctors and nurses in the department have fallen ill.

Even healthy pregnant women are anxious. “They don’t feel the happiness and joy that many people experience” at this time of life, Dr. Byer said. Worse, some pregnant patients who become sick are so scared of coming into the hospital — citing fear of the virus or of being alone — that they have delayed doing so. A few of them have become dangerously ill.

As at other New York hospitals, the surge of new patients with Covid-19 flattened this past week. But nearly 90 patients at the Brooklyn hospital who were confirmed or suspected to have the virus have died since March 1, 30 of them from Monday to Friday last week. Five staff members have also died. The crisis is not over, Dr. Byer and other physicians warned.

Pregnant women are thought to be at a similar risk for severe illness from Covid-19 as other people. But Dr. Byer said that more research was needed, particularly in communities, like Brooklyn, where obesity, diabetes and hypertension are common among expectant mothers.

But he is grateful: So far, not one mother or baby has been lost.

Lines for basic needs stretch across America.

Standing in line used to be an American pastime, whether it was camping outside movie theaters before a “Star Wars” premiere or shivering outside big-box stores to be the first inside on Black Friday.

The coronavirus has changed all that.

Now, millions of people across the country are risking their health to wait in tense, sometimes desperate, new lines for basic needs. Carefully spaced, people stretch around blocks and clog two-lane highways.

The scenes are especially jarring at a moment when freeways are empty and city centers are deserted. Public health officials are urging people to slow the transmission of the coronavirus by avoiding each other.

“It’s worrisome,” said Carl Bergstrom, a biologist at the University of Washington who studies pandemics. “It’s setting up unnecessary opportunities for transmission.”

In Milwaukee, Catherine Graham, who has a bad heart and asthma, left her apartment on Tuesday for the first time since early March to vote in the Wisconsin primary election.

“It was people, people, people,” Ms. Graham, 78, said. “I was afraid.”

She said she nearly turned back when she saw the line, but waited for two hours to cast a ballot. Every day since, she has been watching for symptoms of the coronavirus.

Guam is the center of the U.S. Navy’s coronavirus outbreak.

Strapped by the same problems facing health care workers around the world, including a limited supply of personal protective equipment, hospital beds and ventilators, Guam’s government is contending with how to help the crew of infected sailors on the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt, which arrived on March 27. The outbreak on the ship ended up creating a moral crisis for the military.

As an American territory roughly 7,200 miles from the continental United States, Guam is home to Joint Region Marianas, a military command made up of Andersen Air Force Base on the northern part of the island that supports stealth-bomber rotations, and Naval Base Guam to the south, where four attack submarines are stationed to counter Chinese military expansion in the South China Sea.

Local residents, sailors from the Roosevelt and their loved ones described a complicated situation on the island. Guam is providing logistical support to the Navy while also trying to protect the local population from the coronavirus, which could quickly overwhelm Guam’s fragile health care system.

Around the world: Lockdowns in some European countries are shifting, but not without debate.

Across Europe, leaders moved gingerly to calibrate lockdown measures, leery of setting off surges in new infections as they seek to mitigate the economic disaster created by the virus.

In Denmark, schools and day care centers will reopen on Wednesday, with new instructions to prevent children from playing in large groups. Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said the easing of restrictions was like “walking a tightrope,” even as hospitals in Denmark remained below full capacity, and deaths appeared to decline.

In Russia, officials on Sunday reported 2,186 new confirmed cases, the largest daily increase since the start of the outbreak, bringing the national tally to 15,770, with 130 deaths. Mayor Sergei Sobyanin of Moscow said that the city would introduce digital permits that will be required to travel by car, motorcycle, taxi and public transit.

The number of deaths in Britain topped 10,000 this weekend. As Prime Minister Boris Johnson was released from the hospital on Sunday, he issued a video address thanking the country’s health care workers and declaring that the struggle was “by no means over.” “Let’s remember to follow the rules on social distancing,” Mr. Johnson urged.

In Germany, where gatherings of more than two people are banned, the police in Frankfurt were attacked with stones and pipes when they tried to break up a party of about 20 people late Friday. Around the country, hundreds of officers fanned out across parks and riverbanks to ensure rules were observed. Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet on Wednesday with state governors to discuss whether restrictions can be eased.

Spain, the only European country hit harder than Italy by the pandemic, was preparing to allow factories and construction sites to recall workers after the Easter holiday, even as the population remains under lockdown until at least April 26. Elected officials from the regional governments of Madrid and Catalonia, the two areas most affected by the virus, questioned the lifting of restrictions.

On Saturday, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, the conservative leader of the Madrid region, said she would respect the orders of the government, but warned that it would be “unforgivable” if the authorities allowed another wave.

Reporting was contributed by Peter Baker, Clifford Krauss, Natalie Kitroeff, Kenneth P. Vogel, Rick Rojas, Neil Vigdor, Mike Baker, Farah Stockman, Kim Barker, Knvul Sheikh, Sheri Fink, Jonah Engel Bromwich, Elizabeth Dias, Katie Van Syckle, Jeanna Smialek, Nancy Coleman, Jack Healy, Tara Parker-Pope, Johnny Diaz, Patricia Mazzei, Frances Robles, Carl Hulse and Gina Kolata.

  • Updated April 11, 2020

    • When will this end?

      This is a difficult question, because a lot depends on how well the virus is contained. A better question might be: “How will we know when to reopen the country?” In an American Enterprise Institute report, Scott Gottlieb, Caitlin Rivers, Mark B. McClellan, Lauren Silvis and Crystal Watson staked out four goal posts for recovery: Hospitals in the state must be able to safely treat all patients requiring hospitalization, without resorting to crisis standards of care; the state needs to be able to at least test everyone who has symptoms; the state is able to conduct monitoring of confirmed cases and contacts; and there must be a sustained reduction in cases for at least 14 days.

    • How can I help?

      Charity Navigator, which evaluates charities using a numbers-based system, has a running list of nonprofits working in communities affected by the outbreak. You can give blood through the American Red Cross, and World Central Kitchen has stepped in to distribute meals in major cities. More than 30,000 coronavirus-related GoFundMe fund-raisers have started in the past few weeks. (The sheer number of fund-raisers means more of them are likely to fail to meet their goal, though.)

    • What should I do if I feel sick?

      If you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus or think you have, and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.

    • Should I wear a mask?

      The C.D.C. has recommended that all Americans wear cloth masks if they go out in public. This is a shift in federal guidance reflecting new concerns that the coronavirus is being spread by infected people who have no symptoms. Until now, the C.D.C., like the W.H.O., has advised that ordinary people don’t need to wear masks unless they are sick and coughing. Part of the reason was to preserve medical-grade masks for health care workers who desperately need them at a time when they are in continuously short supply. Masks don’t replace hand washing and social distancing.

    • How do I get tested?

      If you’re sick and you think you’ve been exposed to the new coronavirus, the C.D.C. recommends that you call your healthcare provider and explain your symptoms and fears. They will decide if you need to be tested. Keep in mind that there’s a chance — because of a lack of testing kits or because you’re asymptomatic, for instance — you won’t be able to get tested.

    • How does coronavirus spread?

      It seems to spread very easily from person to person, especially in homes, hospitals and other confined spaces. The pathogen can be carried on tiny respiratory droplets that fall as they are coughed or sneezed out. It may also be transmitted when we touch a contaminated surface and then touch our face.

    • Is there a vaccine yet?

      No. Clinical trials are underway in the United States, China and Europe. But American officials and pharmaceutical executives have said that a vaccine remains at least 12 to 18 months away.

    • What makes this outbreak so different?

      Unlike the flu, there is no known treatment or vaccine, and little is known about this particular virus so far. It seems to be more lethal than the flu, but the numbers are still uncertain. And it hits the elderly and those with underlying conditions — not just those with respiratory diseases — particularly hard.

    • What if somebody in my family gets sick?

      If the family member doesn’t need hospitalization and can be cared for at home, you should help him or her with basic needs and monitor the symptoms, while also keeping as much distance as possible, according to guidelines issued by the C.D.C. If there’s space, the sick family member should stay in a separate room and use a separate bathroom. If masks are available, both the sick person and the caregiver should wear them when the caregiver enters the room. Make sure not to share any dishes or other household items and to regularly clean surfaces like counters, doorknobs, toilets and tables. Don’t forget to wash your hands frequently.

    • Should I stock up on groceries?

      Plan two weeks of meals if possible. But people should not hoard food or supplies. Despite the empty shelves, the supply chain remains strong. And remember to wipe the handle of the grocery cart with a disinfecting wipe and wash your hands as soon as you get home.

    • Can I go to the park?

      Yes, but make sure you keep six feet of distance between you and people who don’t live in your home. Even if you just hang out in a park, rather than go for a jog or a walk, getting some fresh air, and hopefully sunshine, is a good idea.

    • Should I pull my money from the markets?

      That’s not a good idea. Even if you’re retired, having a balanced portfolio of stocks and bonds so that your money keeps up with inflation, or even grows, makes sense. But retirees may want to think about having enough cash set aside for a year’s worth of living expenses and big payments needed over the next five years.

    • What should I do with my 401(k)?

      Watching your balance go up and down can be scary. You may be wondering if you should decrease your contributions — don’t! If your employer matches any part of your contributions, make sure you’re at least saving as much as you can to get that “free money.”


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