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With major sports shut down, gamblers turn to stocks — and appear to be moving markets.
Millions of small-time investors have opened trading accounts in recent months, a flood of new buyers unlike anything the market had seen in years, just as coronavirus pandemic lockdown orders halted entire sectors of the U.S. economy and sent unemployment soaring.
Some Wall Street analysts see people who used to bet on sports as playing a big role in the market’s recent surge, which has largely erased its losses for the year.
“There’s zero doubt in my mind that it is a factor,” said Julian Emanuel, the chief equity and derivatives strategist at the brokerage firm BTIG.
Stymied sports bettors are sitting on a substantial amount of money. Last year, gamblers legally wagered more than $13 billion on sports, according to Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, a research and consulting firm.
Betting collapsed when the outbreak shut down the major sports leagues. Sports betting revenues in March dropped about 60 percent from February, the company said. They may have fallen as much as 80 percent more in April.
Some of the new stock traders are behaving like aggressive gamblers.
There has been a jump in small bets in the stock options market, where wagers on the direction of share prices can produce thrilling scores and gut-wrenching losses. And transactions that make little economic sense, like buying up the nearly valueless shares of bankrupt companies, are off the charts.
Health experts predict the virus will afflict the U.S. for months to come.
The coronavirus won’t be losing its grip on the United States any time soon, leading infectious disease experts said on Sunday, adding that they were uncertain how the viral spread would be affected by the patchwork of states reopening businesses and by large events like protests and President Trump’s upcoming campaign rallies.
“This virus is not going to rest” until it infects about 60 percent to 70 percent of the population, said Dr. Michael T. Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, in an appearance on “Fox News Sunday.”
Experts have estimated that without a vaccine, about 70 percent of the population will need to be infected and develop immunity in order to stop the virus’s spread, a concept called herd immunity. The current number of confirmed American cases is over 2 million, less than 1 percent of the U.S. population, according to a New York Times database.
Dr. Osterholm said that recent data show the rate of infection has been level in eight states, increasing in 22 states and decreasing in the rest. The increase is not simply due to more widely available testing, the experts said, noting that Covid-19 hospitalizations are rising in several states.
“At this point, hospitals are at risk of getting overwhelmed and that is basically signaling to me that those states are already behind,” said Dr. Nahid Bhadelia, medical director of the special pathogens unit at Boston University School of Medicine, on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently said that by July 4, coronavirus deaths in the United States would likely jump from the current level of about 116,000 to somewhere between 124,000 and 140,000.
Dr. Bhadelia said the rise in cases in some states in the South and West suggested that “we opened too early in those states.”
Dr. Osterholm added that so far there had not been widespread indications that protests over police killings of African-Americans and racial injustice had led to a spike in cases. He and other experts have noted that the protests are taking place outdoors and that many participants are wearing masks, factors expected to limit spread of the virus.
“On the other hand, yelling, screaming, being exposed to tear gas or smoke, which causes coughing, being put into a holding cell overnight in jail if you’re arrested — all are reasons why you would expect to see more cases,” Dr. Osterholm said.
The risk of viral spread at a rally like the one President Trump has planned for next weekend in Oklahoma is much higher, the experts said, because the rally will be indoors in a large arena and there will no requirement that attendees wear masks.
The White House won’t support extending expanded unemployment benefits past July, a top aide says.
The Trump administration does not plan to back the extension of expanded unemployment insurance benefits beyond the end of July, citing concerns that workers are opting to take the generous benefits instead of going back to their jobs.
Larry Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council, said on Sunday that the White House would support new incentives to bring people back to work rather than push to renew the additional $600 in weekly jobless benefits when it expires at the end of next month.
“I mean, we’re paying people not to work,” Mr. Kudlow said on CNN. “It’s better than their salaries would get. And that might have worked for the first couple of months.”
President Trump and his economic advisers have been debating what another round of economic stimulus legislation could look like. They are in favor of a targeted approach to help industries that have been hit hardest by the pandemic, and the president has been calling for a payroll tax cut. White House officials have discussed a package that could cost $2 trillion or more.
One obstacle that could impede negotiations with Congress is a lack of transparency surrounding the $660 billion Paycheck Protection Program, which provides loans for small businesses. The Trump administration has refused to make public the names of the recipients of the loans, which are expected to turn into grants, despite promises to be forthcoming about who is receiving taxpayer money.
On Sunday, Mr. Kudlow said “there is a certain privacy element here” when it comes to releasing the names of businesses that took the loans. He suggested that it would ultimately be up to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to decide on any additional disclosures.
“Now, insofar as naming each and every company, I don’t think that promise was ever made,” Mr. Kudlow said. “And I don’t think it’s necessary.”
Around the world, the pandemic has added an obstacle for women seeking safe abortions.
From the outset of the pandemic, advocacy groups and the United Nations warned that women’s access to reproductive services could be imperiled as movement among jurisdictions became far more difficult.
In many places, that is proving true. In Europe, closed borders added an obstacle for women in countries with strict abortion regulations, such as Poland, if they wanted to seek the procedure elsewhere. The complications were deepened when countries including Germany and Austria did not label abortions as essential, time-sensitive procedures while tackling the health care demands of the pandemic.
But the pandemic also cracked open windows in some parts of the continent. France, Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales in Britain all permitted at-home abortions with medication administered by prescription and the guidance of a medical professional via telephone or online.
Across the Atlantic, where the debate over abortion is more politicized, disruptions to services were more deliberate.
Anti-abortion governors in Oklahoma, Texas, Ohio, Iowa and Alabama listed abortions as “nonessential” procedures, arguing that performing them would threaten supplies of medical resources and protective equipment.
In the meantime, some women ended up racing across state lines to avoid the new limitations. One traveled from Arkansas to Oklahoma to Kansas before she could terminate her pregnancy.
From China to Arizona, case spikes highlight a continuing threat.
With some areas hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic over the past six months having significantly curbed its spread through strict measures, more people around the globe are venturing back into public life, whether for social interactions, work or the protests that erupted after the police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota.
But rising new cases on multiple continents underscore the virus’s continuing threat. A New York Times tally of cases shows rising trends in some 70 countries.
China, the site of the first major outbreak, appeared to have largely brought the virus under control, but on Sunday it reported 57 new confirmed infections, its highest single-day tally in two months.
In the United States, several states are experiencing spikes, particularly in the Sun Belt and the West. Hospitals in Arizona have been urged to activate emergency plans to cope with a flood of patients. Oregon’s governor has paused a gradual reopening. And cases are rising swiftly around the largest cities in Texas, including Houston, San Antonio and Dallas.
“I’m very concerned about it,” said Mayor Eric Johnson of Dallas, noting that many residents had stopped wearing masks and maintaining social distance out of sheer fatigue. “They’ve been asked for quite some time to not be around people they love, and that they want to spend time with. Wearing a mask is not pleasant. And I think people are tired.”
The virus has caused more than 115,000 deaths in the United States, and the toll is rapidly climbing in Latin America — most notably in Brazil, which this weekend surged to the world’s second-highest number of fatalities, with 42,720 confirmed deaths. The country’s daily death toll is now the highest globally.
In the United States, the daily number of new cases is climbing in 22 states, shifting course from what had been downward trajectories in many of those places.
With many government limits on public life being removed and individuals left to make their own choices about precautions, people have gone back to salons and restaurants, crowded into public parks and, in dozens of cities, joined large public demonstrations protesting racism and police brutality.
Epidemiologists said that even taking increased testing into account, the rise in confirmed cases in Sun Belt states suggested more transmissions.
In Florida, which on Saturday saw its largest single-day count of cases since the pandemic began, at least one official has raised the possibility of another clampdown on businesses.
“I think it’s only a matter of time before the public sees those numbers and starts emailing us that we need to shut down again,” Pat Gerard, the chairwoman of the Board of County Commissioners in Pinellas County said at a board meeting this past week.
Despite acting early to fight the virus, Peru is one of the world’s worst hot spots.
President Martín Vizcarra of Peru ordered one of Latin America’s first and strictest lockdowns, and rolled out one of the region’s biggest economic aid packages to help people stay home. He shared detailed health data with the public, increased testing and rushed to add hospital beds and ventilators.
But like India, which acted early but now ranks fourth in reported cases, Peru has become one of the world’s worst coronavirus hot spots.
Its hospitals are overwhelmed, its people fleeing the cities. The crisis has torn away Peru’s veneer of economic progress, exposing the deep-rooted inequality and corruption that thwarted its pandemic response.
“They asked us to stay at home, but a lot of people have no savings, so that was impossible,” said Hugo Ñopo, who works for Grade, a Peruvian research group. “They asked us to wash our hands, but one in three Peruvian households lacks access to running water.”
Only half of Peruvian homes have refrigerators, he said, so many families must return daily to crowded markets, a major source of contagion.
Peru’s tragedy is unfolding amid a broader explosion of the virus in Latin America, which over the past two months has been transformed from a haven into a center of the pandemic. The hardest hit is Brazil, with more than 850,000 known cases — second only to the United States — but altogether about 1.5 million people in Latin America have tested positive. Experts say the actual number of infections is much higher.
Throughout the region, the pandemic is straining health systems and economies that were already fragile. In Guatemala, at least 58 people on President Alejandro Giammattei’s staff have tested positive, although the president said he had tested negative. And in Chile, the health minister resigned this weekend amid criticism of his handling of the pandemic.
And with winter arriving in the southern part of the region and hurricane season in the northern part, the World Health Organization warned last week that adverse weather conditions could lead to a new spike in infections.
Other developments around the world:
Egypt on Saturday reported 1,677 new coronavirus cases and 62 deaths, the country’s highest daily numbers since the virus emerged there in February.
President Hassan Rouhani of Iran said this weekend that he was prepared to reinstate a strict coronavirus lockdown if looser measures were not observed. Press TV, a state-run broadcaster, quoted him as saying that a recent drop in compliance “could be worrying.”
Immigration officials in Canada said the government might allow caregivers who are seeking asylum to remain in the country permanently because of their outsized contributions to fighting the pandemic.
Pressed on the pandemic, Republican senators facing tough elections skip defending Trump and blame China.
Fighting for their political lives amid twin domestic crises — a pandemic and its disastrous effects on the economy — vulnerable Republican senators running for re-election are working to make their races a referendum on China.
The tactic, party strategists say, is a way for Republicans to avoid defending the president’s handling of the virus, which has been met with widespread public disapproval, and instead offer up an alternative issue that already inspires fear and skepticism among voters.
Senator Martha McSally of Arizona has leaned heavily into the message as she trails a Democratic challenger, the former astronaut Mark Kelly, who has business ties to China.
“I learned the day I entered the military, never trust a communist,” Ms. McSally said recently. “China is to blame for this pandemic and the death of thousands of Americans.”
Other Republicans have followed suit. Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina released a strategy meant to hold the Chinese government accountable for its “lies, deception and cover-ups.” In Montana, Senator Steve Daines, who is facing a challenge from the state’s popular Democratic governor, Steve Bullock, unveiled an ad campaign centered on casting China as responsible for the virus. Senator Joni Ernst in Iowa posted on Twitter and Facebook condemning “so many bad actions out of China.”
“If only they had stood up and alerted the world much sooner, the pandemic could have been lessened,” she said.
The pandemic has also forced a huge shift in voting itself. First came the move to mail-in ballots in primary elections nationwide, and now it is affecting voter registration, which would normally be up in a presidential election year.
New voter registrations in 12 states and the District of Columbia plummeted 70 percent in April compared to January, according to a study released Friday by the Center for Election Innovation and Research, a Washington nonprofit.
As Oklahoma hits new case highs, a senator is undecided about wearing a mask at Trump’s Tulsa rally.
Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma said on Sunday that he had not decided whether to wear a mask to President Trump’s campaign rally in Tulsa next Saturday, where attendees must sign a waiver prohibiting them from suing the campaign or the venue if they contract the coronavirus.
Oklahoma recorded 222 new cases on Friday and 225 on Saturday, its highest counts since the pandemic began, according to a New York Times database. The state has had more than 8,000 confirmed cases and 359 deaths.
The senator, a Republican, was responding to questions from the host of the CNN program “State of the Union,” Jake Tapper, about whether he would follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and wear a mask to the rally. “I haven’t decided on that,” Mr. Lankford said. “We have had a few more cases in the last week.”
He did note to Mr. Tapper that he wears a mask “everywhere that I go currently and have for weeks and weeks and weeks when I’m out at all here in Oklahoma.”
Senator Lankford also said he spoke to the president about changing the date of the rally, which was originally scheduled for June 19. That is Juneteenth, a holiday honoring the day in 1865 when Union soldiers arrived in Texas and read the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing enslaved people in the last Confederate state to receive the news.
The decision to hold the rally in Tulsa, the site of one of the country’s bloodiest race massacres, on Juneteenth drew significant criticism. On Friday Mr. Trump finally bowed to pressure to move the date, resetting it to June 20.
Baseball inches, bitterly, toward a 50-game season.
In yet another round of sharply worded statements, the players’ union rejected Major League Baseball’s latest salary proposal and essentially dared the league commissioner, Rob Manfred, to impose the severely shortened version of the season he has threatened.
On Saturday, the union’s chief negotiator, Bruce Meyer, sent a letter to his counterpart at M.L.B., the deputy commissioner Dan Halem, declaring that the union believed negotiations were at an end.
Mr. Meyer blamed M.L.B.’s insistence on pay cuts that go beyond a March agreement between the two sides, which stated that players would be paid a prorated salary depending on how many games were played.
But as it became apparent that any games would most likely have to be played without fans, M.L.B. owners repeatedly sought further pay cuts for players. The latest offer from M.L.B. came Friday, calling for players to make 70 percent of their prorated salaries over a 72-game season, with the possibility of reaching 80 percent if the playoffs are completed.
M.L.B. has argued that the shutdown has cost it billions of dollars already, and that games without fans would cut into revenues even more — thus the demands that players take additional cuts. The players’ union has said it hasn’t received sufficient documentation from M.L.B. to support its financial claims.
The union’s counterproposals have called for more games — as many as 114 — with full, prorated pay. But the league desperately wants to protect its lucrative postseason revenue by wrapping up the World Series before a potential second wave of coronavirus infections in the fall, and to avoid a cluttered television sports schedule in November.
A number of countries will relax travel restrictions this week, but most remain closed to Americans.
As the world slowly reopens to tourism, this coming Monday and Tuesday are significant markers, especially in Europe, where the European Union plans to lift many internal barriers.
Germany, Turkey and Greece are among the countries easing restrictions. Our travel desk compiled a full list.
Additional waves of reopenings are expected later in the summer, but visitors from the United States are not typically allowed for now.
Some European countries have already been reaching out to tourists, as have Caribbean island nations like St. Lucia, though tourism remains banned across many parts of Africa and South America, and U.S. tourists are barred from Asian nations like Vietnam and Japan.
In Spain, the government said on Sunday that it would remove a quarantine order for foreign visitors on June 21, while keeping its land border with Portugal closed until July 1. The move, which is in line with a recent recommendation from the European Commission, means that tourists will be welcomed back by Spain on the same day that the country lifts a state of emergency that has been in place since mid-March.
And in Britain, the chancellor of the Exchequer told the BBC on Sunday that the government was considering making changes to a requirement that most foreign visitors undergo a 14-day self-quarantine, as part of a broader review of the country’s measures to slow the spread of the virus.
Where cross-border travel is permitted in the newly reopened destinations, some visitors will be required to self-quarantine, provide medical certificates or follow social distancing guidelines and wear masks in public places.
As far as travel to the United States is concerned, bans on most visitors from the European Union, China and Brazil remain in place. Asked about the U.S. bar on most British travelers, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the top American infectious disease expert, said in an interview with The Telegraph published on Sunday that it could last until a vaccine is developed. He said lifting it would be “more likely months than weeks.”
On alert after finding a cluster at a vast Beijing food market, China reports a two-month high in new cases.
China on Sunday reported 57 new confirmed coronavirus infections, its highest single-day tally in two months, renewing fears that the country’s grip on the pandemic is not secure.
Of the 38 locally transmitted cases, 36 were in the capital, Beijing, where the authorities are conducting mass testing at a major seafood and produce market that appears to be the source of a new outbreak. It is the most cases the city has reported in one day since the virus first emerged. Beijing had gone eight weeks without a single locally transmitted case until a total of seven were detected on Thursday and Friday.
The other 19 cases China reported on Sunday involved travelers arriving from overseas, mostly in the southern province of Guangdong.
Nearly all of the dozens who tested positive in Beijing in recent days had worked or shopped at the Xinfadi market, a wholesale market on the city’s south side that sells seafood, fruit and vegetables, according to the Beijing health commission. The market has been shut down, and several nearby residential complexes are on lockdown.
More than 10,000 people work at the market, which supplies 90 percent of Beijing’s fruits and vegetables, according to the state news media.
The developments also prompted the authorities to partly or completely close five other Beijing markets and to tighten controls on movement in and out of the city.
China was the site of the first major coronavirus outbreak — with many of the first reported cases tied to a seafood market in the central city of Wuhan. But as the pandemic has ravaged the rest of the world, China’s government has loudly promoted its apparent success in controlling the virus’s spread. According to New York Times data, mainland China has had 89,784 cases and 4,634 deaths as of Sunday.
A funeral director in Harlem reflects on the devastating toll of the virus on his community.
When New York City began reopening last week, funeral directors were still reeling from the pandemic, and still burying its victims. For Isaiah Owens, a funeral director in Harlem who has worked in the industry for five decades, the toll is deeply personal.
He is busier than ever before, a reflection of the disproportionate toll of the virus on black Americans. City data shows that black and Latino residents are twice as likely to die from Covid-19 compared with white residents.
During the course of filming, Mr. Owens buried two friends of his own: Abraham Tucker, 88, of Harlem, and Mary Hughes, 86, of Rockland County.
“The African-American community is going to be in deep mourning for a long time,” Mr. Owens said. “There’s a lot of people that have broken hearts right now.”
How to exercise safely during the pandemic.
As businesses reopen and warm weather brings more people outdoors, here are some precautions to take when venturing outside for a run or returning to a usual fitness routine.
Reporting and research were contributed by Yousur Al-Hlou, Pam Belluck, Julie Bosman, Scott Cacciola, Kevin Draper, Catie Edmondson, Tess Felder, Manny Fernandez, Rebecca Halleck, Alisha Haridasani Gupta, Amy Harmon, Anatoly Kurmanaev, Iliana Magra, Patricia Mazzei, Raphael Minder, David Montgomery, Emily Palmer, Alexandra E. Petri, Matt Phillips, Monika Pronczuk, Alan Rappeport, Simon Romero, Mitch Smith, Matina Stevis-Gridneff, Ana Swanson, Mitra Taj, Michael Wines and Karen Zraick.