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Top Republicans met with Trump to smooth the way for their relief package.
The two top congressional Republicans met with President Trump at the White House on Monday morning in an attempt to smooth over differences with the administration about what should be in the next round of federal coronavirus relief.
The meeting, which included Mr. Trump, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Representative Kevin McCarthy of California and Steven Mnuchin, the treasury secretary, came after the administration moved over the weekend to block billions of dollars that Republicans had included in their draft proposal. The money had been allocated for testing and tracing efforts across the country, and to fund federal health agencies on the front lines of the virus. The move infuriated Republicans on Capitol Hill.
Mr. McConnell had planned to unveil his opening offer in the coming days, before entering what is expected to be a grueling set of negotiations with Democrats over the wide-ranging pandemic aid bill.
The focus of the plan, Mr. Mnuchin said, would be on “kids and jobs and vaccines.”
“We want to make sure that people who can go to work safely can do, so we’ll have tax credits that incentivize businesses to bring people back to work,” he told reporters at the White House.
The two parties remain far apart on a number of critical issues that need to be resolved before August: expanded unemployment benefits for millions of Americans that are set to expire at the end of the month, additional funding for state and local governments, money for schools and liability protections for workers and businesses that remain open during the pandemic. The Republican offer is likely to be a package of about $1 trillion.
Mr. McConnell said on Monday that they will begin “socializing” the discussion among Republicans on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, when Mr. Mnuchin and Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, will attend a weekly lunch with Republicans.
Democrats say their starting point remains a far more expansive $3 trillion package than the House approved in May, and they are signaling that they are willing to block the Republicans’ bill if they consider it insufficient to meet the country’s needs. Their proposal would send aid to state and local governments and provide another round of direct $1,200 payments to taxpayers.
But the Democratic proposal lacks many of the special provisions that various interest groups — including the travel and hospitality industries, as well as military contractors and banks — are pushing for, leaving them to focus now on the Senate and any bipartisan negotiations between the two chambers and the White House.
Mr. Mnuchin and Mr. Meadows are also expected to huddle with top Republicans on the Senate Appropriations Committee later Monday to begin hammering out specifics for the next package.
Potential vaccines from Oxford and a Chinese company have triggered immune responses, studies find.
Two potential vaccines against the virus from Oxford University and the Chinese company CanSino have triggered immune responses in hundreds of humans without dangerous side effects, according two studies published on Monday in the British medical journal, The Lancet.
Although short of proving efficacy at preventing infection, the results are the most promising indication yet of progress toward a vaccine that could end the pandemic.
A third potential vaccine, from the American biotechnology company Moderna, has also elicited immune responses in 45 people who have received it, according to a study released last week.
All three potential vaccines are now moving into larger tests, known as Phase III trials, aiming to show their effectiveness at preventing the diseases.
The Oxford vaccine, which is being produced in partnership with the British-Swiss drug giant AstraZeneca, is already in large Phase III tests in Britain, Brazil and South Africa. Another Phase III test involving 30,000 participants in the United States is set to begin next week, along with a parallel test of the Moderna vaccine. The CanSino vaccine has also passed safety tests and is heading for an efficacy trial in Brazil.
Exactly when any of those tests might deliver results remains hazy.
“Seeing these responses means that people should be optimistic that this vaccine will be useful,” said Prof. Adrian Hill of Oxford, one of scientists developing the vaccine. “But there is no guarantee until you have shown efficacy in humans because you can’t know what you don’t know.”
In the first three months of the pandemic, millions of Americans signed up for food stamps.
Joseph Baker, 48, a firearms instructor laid off from an Orlando pawnshop and firing range, exhausted his savings and watched his shelves dwindle as he waited two months for unemployment aid. But when Mr. Baker, a single father raising two big-eating teenagers, turned to food stamps, they arrived in a week — a safety net beneath the safety net.
“Oh my God, dude, I didn’t have to worry about whether I can feed my kids,” Mr. Baker said, recalling his relief. “I don’t want to be dramatic and say it saved my life, but it saved my mental life, ’cause I was stressed out, man.”
Mr. Baker is one of the more than six million people who enrolled in food stamps in the first three months of the pandemic, an unprecedented expansion that is likely to continue as jobless people deplete their savings and billions in unemployment aid expires this month.
From February to May, the program grew by 17 percent — about three times faster than in any previous three months, according to state data collected by The New York Times. That is testament both to the hardship of the times and the importance of the program.
Among the 42 states for which The Times collected data, caseloads grew in all but one. The rolls have surged across Appalachian hamlets, urban cores like Miami and Detroit, and white-picket-fence suburbs outside Atlanta and Houston.
And they rose faster in rich counties than in poor ones, as the downturn caused by the virus claimed the restaurant, cleaning and gig economy jobs.
Food stamps — formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP — support young and old, healthy and disabled, the working and the unemployed. That makes them the closest thing the United States has to a guaranteed income.
Thirty states have experienced double-digit growth, and usage has risen in all 133 counties in the three West Coast states. About 50,000 people have joined the rolls in the county that includes Atlanta, more than 100,000 in the county that includes Detroit and more than 200,000 in those that include Miami and Los Angeles.
Europe thought it was ready. Pride was its downfall.
When European health ministers met in February to discuss the virus emerging in China, they commended their own health systems and promised to send aid to poor and developing countries.
Barely a month later, the continent was overwhelmed. Officials once boastful about their preparedness were frantically trying to secure protective gear and materials for tests, as death rates soared.
This was not supposed to happen. Many European leaders felt so secure after the last pandemic — the 2009 swine flu — that they scaled back stockpiles of equipment and faulted medical experts for overreacting.
But their pandemic plans were built on a litany of miscalculations. Though European leaders boasted of the superiority of their world-class health systems, they had weakened them with a decade of cutbacks.
When Covid-19 arrived, those systems were unable to test widely enough to see the peak coming. National stockpiles of medical supplies were revealed to exist mostly on paper, consisting in large part of “just in time” contracts with manufacturers in China. European planners overlooked the fact that a pandemic could disrupt those supply chains.
Britain most embodies Europe’s overconfidence. Prime Minister Boris Johnson was so certain of his country’s forecasts about the virus, records and testimony show, that he delayed locking down until two weeks after British emergency rooms began to buckle under the strain.
With the number of infections doubling every three days at the time, some scientists now say that locking down a week sooner might have saved 30,000 lives.
Look at the U.S response to the pandemic, in two charts.
In a confrontational interview with Chris Wallace of Fox News on Sunday, Mr. Trump defended his handling of the virus with misleading evidence and attacked his own health experts, calling Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, an “alarmist” who provided faulty information in the early days of the pandemic.
In today’s edition of the Morning newsletter, David Leonhardt offered an overview of the U.S. response to the virus and how it compares to that of other countries. He writes:
The virus has still been deadlier in several European countries than in the U.S., after adjusting for population. But the total death rate in the U.S. is among the worst for any country in the world:
And the U.S. may continue to climb this ranking. Most high-income countries now have a relatively small number of new cases and deaths each day, while the U.S. does not:
The U.S. is conducting a large number of tests — but that isn’t why the virus statistics look so much worse here. According to Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. has now conducted more tests per capita than any other country.
That high test rate obviously leads to a greater number of official cases. If some other countries with major outbreaks, like Brazil, Mexico and Nigeria, were conducting more tests, they would likely be reporting many more cases. Some would probably show worse per capita outbreaks than the U.S.
But the U.S. is still an outlier, especially among rich countries. A higher percentage of its tests are coming back positive than in many other countries, and the death toll continues to mount, which are both signs that the main issue in the U.S. is a failure to control the virus.
There have been 14.4 million coronavirus cases around the world, and at least 605,000 deaths, according to a New York Times database.
Delta says passengers who are unable to wear masks will face a health screening.
Delta Air Lines said it would require passengers unable to wear face masks because of health conditions to undergo a medical clearance at the airport before boarding — or the passengers should “reconsider travel” altogether.
The policy is an addition to Delta’s rules that call on passengers to wear face masks at check-in, boarding gates and during the flight. It follows reports of some passengers on U.S. airlines failing to wear masks onboard and air staff not enforcing them.
“Customers with health conditions or disabilities that explicitly prevent the wearing of a face covering or mask are strongly encouraged to reconsider travel or should be prepared to complete a ‘Clearance-to-Fly’ process,” the statement said.
The screening process will take place before departure at the airport and can exceed an hour, the airline said. Should passengers falsify health claims, the statement said, they risk being barred from the airline until masks are no longer required.
Delta in July is running only 30 percent of its normal flight schedule. The airline has told pilots it will not furlough them for a year if they accept a 15 percent cut to guaranteed pay, according a memo sent to staff on Friday.
A British company says a potential treatment is promising, but scientists urge caution.
A small study of hospitalized virus patients in Britain has identified a promising new treatment for the illness, a Britain-based biotechnology company said on Monday, with initial results showing that an inhaled form of a commonly available drug can reduce the odds of patients requiring intensive care.
But the trial, which sent shares of the company, Synairgen, soaring, caused some consternation among scientists, who demanded to see more detailed data and faulted the company for failing to make clear exactly how helpful the drug was or how long its benefits lasted.
Synairgen said that an inhaled form of interferon beta, a protein that the body produces in response to viral infections, could significantly reduce the odds of patients becoming severely ill and accelerate their recoveries.
Critically, the double-blind trial involved only 101 patients, Synairgen said, and scientists stressed the need for more details about the trial, which has not yet been peer reviewed or published.
“It looks promising,” said Simon Maxwell, a professor of clinical pharmacology and prescribing at the University of Edinburgh. “But the report is of an outcome in a relatively small number of patients, and so it is too early to draw reliable conclusions.”
If the results are confirmed, though, virologists said they would represent significant progress in the monthslong race to find treatments for Covid-19.
The company said that the drug reduced the odds of patients becoming severely ill — needing ventilation, for example, or dying — by 79 percent compared to patients who received a placebo.
Several Chinese companies are using Uighur labor to make masks, a Times visual investigation finds.
As companies across China rush to produce personal protective equipment amid the pandemic, a Times visual investigation has found that some of them are using Uighur labor through a government-sponsored program that experts say often puts people to work against their will.
Uighurs are a largely Muslim ethnic minority primarily from the Xinjiang region of northwest China. The government promotes the labor transfer program, which sends Uighurs and other ethnic minorities into factory and service jobs as a way to reduce poverty, but quotas on the number of workers put into the labor program and the penalties faced by those who refuse to cooperate mean that participation is often coerced.
Now, that labor is part of the P.P.E. supply chain.
According to China’s National Medical Products Administration, only four companies in Xinjiang produced medical grade protective equipment before the pandemic. As of June 30, that number was 51. After reviewing state media reports and public records, The Times found that at least 17 of those companies participate in the labor transfer program.
The companies produce equipment primarily for domestic use, but The Times identified several other companies outside Xinjiang that use Uighur labor and export globally. We traced a shipment of face masks to a medical supply company in the state of Georgia from a factory in China’s Hubei Province, where more than 100 Uighur workers had been sent.
New York City is easing into its next phase of reopening, but indoor limits remain.
New York City entered a limited fourth phase of reopening on Monday, the last part of the state to do so, allowing some art and entertainment venues, like zoos and botanical gardens, to open for outdoor activities at a limited capacity.
But stringent restrictions will remain on indoor activities: Gyms, malls, movie theaters and museums will remain shuttered, and indoor dining will still not be allowed. Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday that the city does not have “a set timeline” on when to resume indoor activities nor a deadline on when to decide.
“We’ve got to strike a balance, and we’ve got time to look at the evidence,” he said Friday. “Watch what’s happening around the country, watch what’s happening here in the city and make further decisions on some of these pieces, and we will do that very carefully with the State of New York.”
In Phase 4, groups of up to 50 people are allowed as well as indoor religious gatherings to operate at one-third of maximum capacity. Outdoor film production and professional sports without audiences can also resume.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said last week that in New York City, bars and restaurants would be subject to a special “Three Strikes and You’re Closed” regimen: If they overlooked violations of social-distancing rules or allowed customers to drink without ordering food, they could lose their liquor licenses after three violations.
And after a weekend that saw crowds partying outside Astoria in Queens and elsewhere, the governor on Monday threatened to roll back the reopening of bars and restaurants in New York City. He said that if lax local enforcement continued of social distancing and open-container laws, he would step in, adding that his warning applied to parts of Long Island and upstate New York, too.
“We cannot allow those congregations to continue. If it happens, I’ll tell you what’s going to happen: We’re going to have to roll back the opening plan and we’re going to have to close bars and restaurants” Mr. Cuomo said at his briefing. “I’m telling you, we are right on the line.”
India announces a record 40,000 cases in one day.
India recorded at least 40,000 new virus infections on Monday, its highest single-day total.
In recent weeks, as Indian officials began lifting a nationwide lockdown, infections have jumped sharply. Many states, from Tamil Nadu in the south to Uttar Pradesh in the north, reimposed partial lockdowns.
But new hot spots have emerged, and researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology now estimate that India will be the worst-hit country in the world by the end of next year. India, with 1.1 million confirmed cases, now falls behind only the United States, with 3.7 million, and Brazil, with two million.
In recent days, the number of India’s new daily infections has started to surpass Brazil’s, with about 34,000 new cases a day over the past week compared to 33,000 in Brazil, according to a New York Times database.
Without visitors to the Tower of London, Beefeaters, the guardians, face job losses.
The pandemic has forced some Beefeaters, the ceremonial guards of the Tower of London, to lose their jobs, quite possibly for the first time in their long history.
Historic Royal Palaces, the self-funded charity that manages the castle and five other historic buildings, said in an email on Monday that a voluntary separation program had been put in place for the 37 Beefeaters, officially known as Yeoman Warders of the Tower London. The charity said it was likely that involuntary job losses will follow.
John Barnes, the charity’s chief executive, said on Monday that the 80 percent of its income comes from visitors, and the nearly four-month closure of all six sites has dealt “a devastating blow” to its finances. Out of all its sites, the Tower is the most visited, with two-thirds of the visitors coming from overseas. It is also the largest attraction in the country that charges admission, the charity said.
“We have taken every possible measure to secure our financial position, but we need to do more to survive in the long term,” Mr. Barnes said. “We simply have no choice but to reduce our payroll costs.”
The Beefeaters live on site, and the charity said that if any of them are let go, measures will be put in place to ensure a smooth transition.
It is believed that this is the first time the guards have faced job losses, the charity said.
After reopening this month, the Bahamas closes its door to U.S. citizens.
The Bahamas, one of the international destinations where U.S. citizens could still travel, will ban commercial flights or vessels from the United States starting this week, the country’s prime minister announced on Sunday.
The ban does not include commercial flights from Canada or the European Union or “private international flights,” the prime minister, Hubert Minnis, said. Pleasure craft and yachts will also be permitted.
The government-owned airline, Bahamasair, will also cease flights to the United States “effective immediately,” Mr. Minnis said.
The Bahamas has recorded 153 cases of the virus and 11 deaths, according to a New York Times database.
Reporting was contributed by Geneva Abdul, Matt Apuzzo, Alexander Burns, Emily Cochrane, Jason DeParle, Luis Ferré-Sadurní, Lalena Fisher, Selam Gebrekidan, Maggie Haberman, Drew Jordan, David D. Kirkpatrick, Juliana Kim, Christoph Koettl, David Leonhardt, Eric Lipton, Iliana Magra, Jonathan Martin, Jeffery C. Mays, Andy Newman, Sean Piccoli, Natalie Reneau, Dana Rubinstein, Kai Schultz, Kaly Soto, Haley Willis and Muyi Xiao.