Major American cities are moving to reopen. Warning tales abound.
Many of the most populous cities in the United States cautiously adopted the reopening of major businesses on Friday.
New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said he expected New York City, where more than 20,000 people died of the virus, to comply with several parameters that would allow retail stores to open onto the sidewalk or in the store, in addition to to allow non-essential construction and manufacturing curriculum. The changes are part of an initial phase that can send up to 400,000 people back to work.
Other major cities that have faced the death and economic calamity of the pandemic, such as Washington and Los Angeles, have also announced plans to continue reopening, allowing restaurants, hair salons and barber shops to open their doors as long as they follow the new security guidelines.
Cuomo joins many authorities around the world to decide that the benefits of recovering economies outweigh the risks of new infections. But, as other countries are learning, these risks do not disappear overnight:
In South Korea, which has managed to recover from an early outbreak, more than 800 schools have closed their doors to students or postponed the reopening days that were originally scheduled for this week. The government also closed museums, parks and many other public facilities in the Seoul area on Friday.
In Canada, an increasing number of store workers are back on the job following a decrease in government orders that closed most stores across the country, except in British Columbia. But returning to work is likely to be uncomfortable for many people, especially those in the most affected places, such as nursing homes and meat-packing plants.
In India, a nation of 1.3 billion people, a severe block has been eased and could end completely as soon as Sunday. But migrant workers are being infected at a frighteningly high rate, leading to new outbreaks in northern villages, and hospitals in Mumbai are so overwhelmed that patients sleep in cardboard in the corridors.
In Iraq, all travel between provinces was interrupted for the second time, in response to the country's growing awareness of the spread of the virus. Baghdad was almost completely stopped on Friday, and home orders were enforced by blockades in the neighborhood
In Israel, where schools reopened weeks ago, more than 100 new cases were reported on Friday, the level that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had warned would lead to the restoration of a strict blockade.
After spending weeks accusing the World Health Organization of helping the Chinese government to cover up the early days of the coronavirus epidemic in China, President Trump said on Friday that the United States would end its relationship with the agency.
"The world is now suffering as a result of the Chinese government's misconduct," Trump said in a speech at the Rose Garden. "Countless lives have been taken and deep economic difficulties have been inflicted across the world."
In his 10-minute speech, Trump was not responsible for the deaths of 100,000 Americans due to the virus, saying that China "instigated a global pandemic".
There is no evidence that W.H.O. or the government in Beijing concealed the extent of the epidemic in China, and public health experts often see Trump's accusations as a way to divert attention from the government's own damaged response to the spread of the virus in the United States.
Spokesperson for W.H.O. in Geneva, where news of Trump's announcement arrived around 9 pm, said the agency would have no response until Saturday.
Public health experts in the United States responded with alarm.
The decision "will increase death rates worldwide from Covid-19 and other diseases," said Keith Martin, executive director of the University Consortium for Global Health, in a statement, adding that the world's poor would be the most affected. .
"We helped create W.H.O.," said Dr. Thomas Frieden, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who has worked with the organization since its creation in 1948.
"We are part of this – it is part of the world," said Frieden. “Turning your back on W.H.O. makes us and the world less secure. "
If the reopening of offices, restaurants and other public places within countries in the midst of the pandemic seems dizzying, the rules of travel between nations are becoming disconcerting.
Travel bubbles and airline corridors to allow free movement between certain cities or countries, quarantines and various other measures contribute to a puzzle that even the most intrepid traveler will probably have trouble navigating.
Nowhere are the logistical challenges more frightening than in Europe, where optimistic pronouncements about reducing time constraints for the summer travel season are faced with the reality of a patchwork of policies.
For people living across the continent, the sudden closure of borders was a shock, fundamentally rearranging the lives of millions of people who came of age in an era defined by frictionless travel between the 26 countries that are part of the so-called Schengen zone. .
"It would be great if all of this could be compressed into something easy to understand, but it is a very complex picture," said Adalbert Jahnz, spokesman for internal affairs, migration and citizenship at the European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union. Unity.
European authorities are working on an interactive map with all the rules between member states in one place. Even when the platform is up and running, it is likely to offer a confused picture of closed and open borders, with individual member states reaching bilateral and multilateral agreements with neighbors.
For example, Bulgaria, Serbia and Greece are expected to open borders between themselves on 1 June. Greece, desperate to save its tourism industry, also released an expanded list in Friday from 29 countries from which it will allow travel from June 15th.
The Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia have already started to implement a similar agreement.
France, Germany and other Western European nations spoke about facilitating border control for other EU countries. Member States on 15 June. This is the day when the European Commission's guidelines call for the suspension of all non-essential travel to the EU. will expire.
The issues that bureaucrats face in relation to travel outside the bloc may be even more difficult than issues within the zone.
If a country allows travelers from outside the bloc to enter – and the borders between EU countries. they are totally open – so, in effect, all countries have done so.
The European Commission, which can only offer guidance, is still discussing which approach to take before the June 15 deadline. But officials said it would be difficult to do anything other than maintain the orientation where it is or lift it completely.
If they asked for more targeted restrictions on countries based on criteria such as loads of virus cases, this could create a new set of scientific, diplomatic and political challenges.
If there is a positive thing for believers in a united Europe, it is that the value of open borders between their countries is unlikely to be taken for granted after this pandemic is over.
For Jahnz, from the European Commission, the crisis showed "how essential travel without borders is to our economy and our way of life".
Trump administration officials will only testify in Congress if the committee's leaders agree to conduct the hearings in person, the White House reported on Friday.
The decision represented a direct challenge to the new House rules that allow committees and legislators to conduct their work remotely during the coronavirus pandemic. But it also symbolized a growing party division over how to conduct political business in an era of public health concerns.
The new condition, described in a notice obtained by The New York Times, is a policy the government instituted this spring, which prohibits administration and agency officials from testifying without the express permission of Mark Meadows, White House chief of staff.
"The government is willing to make accommodations, but only when Congress is equally willing to make accommodations, including agreeing to appear in person," said the White House, according to a statement sent to Congress officials. The notice said that exceptions could be made in cases where a witness needed to be quarantined.
The policy comes when the Chamber of Deputies plans to move away from its usual activities. Democratic leaders announced on Friday that they hope to call the chamber to vote for just three weeks over the next three months – a substantially reduced summer schedule.
President Trump, on the other hand, is stepping up his campaign in the coming weeks. Although he still has no scheduled rallies, he will resume fundraising in person next month under new restrictions, according to Republican Party officials.
Trump will head a fundraising event on June 11 at a private home in Dallas and a fundraising event on June 13 at his golf club in Bedminster, NJ. Only about 25 participants are expected at each of the events, a nod to the social distance recommendations. But each participant will have to undergo a virus test, complete a wellness questionnaire and pass a temperature screening.
When experts recommend wearing masks, keeping at least six feet from each other, washing your hands frequently and avoiding crowded spaces, what they are really saying is: try to minimize the amount of viruses you encounter.
Some viral particles cannot make you sick – the immune system would beat invaders before they could. But how much virus is needed for an infection to take root? What is the minimum effective dose?
A precise answer is impossible, because it is …