This is the Coronavirus Briefing, an informed guide to the global outbreak. Sign up here to get the briefing by email.
The Trump administration walked back a policy that would have stripped visas from international students if their classes were entirely online.
California, Florida and Texas together recorded at least 30,000 new cases on Monday.
Get the latest updates here, as well as maps and trackers for U.S. metro areas and vaccines in development.
A power grab for coronavirus data
The Trump administration, in a little-noticed document posted this week, has ordered hospitals to bypass the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and, beginning tomorrow, send all coronavirus patient information to a central database in Washington.
Officials say the change will streamline data gathering at the Department of Health and Human Services, and help the White House coronavirus task force track the virus and allocate scarce supplies like personal protective gear and the drug remdesivir.
But critics are sounding alarm bells. They worry that centralizing data within the administration would allow the White House to present information in a way that might be politically advantageous for the president, and that the data could be misused or withheld from the public.
Can the C.D.C. push back? The organization was already experiencing a loss of confidence after its botched response to the coronavirus crisis. Far more than other federal agencies, the C.D.C. is ill-equipped to fend off political attacks, argues the health news website STAT.
Former leaders speak out. Four former directors of the C.D.C. accused the president of undermining the agency with “partisan potshots,” in an op-ed published in the Washington Post.
Latest Updates: Global Coronavirus Outbreak
- Florida breaks its record for most deaths in a day, and Texas and Arizona are readying refrigerated morgue trucks.
- The Trump administration abandons a plan to strip visas from international students taking only virtual courses.
- The administration orders hospitals to bypass the C.D.C. with key virus data, alarming health experts.
Turmoil inside the agency. More than 1,000 employees of the C.D.C. have signed a letter calling for the agency to address “a pervasive and toxic culture of racial aggressions, bullying and marginalization” against Black employees.
A sickly economic recovery
As the spread of the virus accelerates in the United States, a sharp “V-shaped” economic comeback is in doubt. Though stock markets have largely ignored rising coronavirus infection rates, businesses of all sizes and workers across many industries face a deeply uncertain future.
Several of the largest American banks have reserved billions of dollars to cover potential losses on loans — a sign that they don’t expect companies and consumers to be able to pay back their debts in coming months.
The economic pain has been particularly acute for small businesses: Nearly 110,000 closed permanently from early March to early May, researchers at Harvard found. In states like Texas, Florida and California, the resurgence of the virus and reopening rollbacks have forced many small businesses to shut down a second time — and for some, that means for good.
Corporations are also facing steep challenges. Sales at Delta Air Lines plunged 88 percent during the second quarter compared with the same period last year. Major food brands like Coca-Cola and Lay’s have reduced the number of products they make during the pandemic, often leading to higher prices and fewer choices for consumers at grocery stores. Automakers may be forced to pull back production as some workers call on plants to close over fears of the virus spreading.
And laid-off employees will likely face more hardship after July, when the additional $600 a week they receive in unemployment is scheduled to end. About 5.4 million American workers have lost their health insurance during the pandemic because of job losses. Many essential workers may also see less in their bank accounts as retailers move to end “hero pay,” the raises and bonuses that rewarded employees who showed up to work during the pandemic.
The view from Europe. Retail sales in the eurozone surged nearly 18 percent in May compared with the previous month as consumers — many of whom remained employed thanks to government programs — left lockdown and made up for lost spending time. Their shopping spree offers hope for a stronger European recovery than expected, but the virus could cut that short.
In Egypt, a journalist who was jailed last month on charges of spreading fake news died from the coronavirus, amplifying concerns that the pandemic is spreading inside the country’s crammed prisons.
Oklahoma added 993 cases on Tuesday, a single-day record for the state, and three states broke their records for the most deaths in a single day: Florida (132), Utah (10) and Alabama (40).
Texas hospitals are flooded with patients and some are running out of drugs, beds, ventilators and staff.
New York is confronting the threat of a second wave of infections ignited by visitors from the Sun Belt and by New Yorkers letting down their guard.
In a policy reversal, people in England will be required to wear masks in stores and supermarkets starting next week.
Here’s a roundup of restrictions in all 50 states.
What else we’re following
Researchers are reporting what they say is the first confirmed case of the virus being transmitted during pregnancy from a woman to her baby.
The federal stockpile of personal protective equipment is running low amid the coronavirus surge, according to internal administration documents obtained by NBC News.
Some experts say a vaccine puffed in the nose would be better than an injection at protecting people from infection.
France celebrated public health workers as heroes for their role during the pandemic and granted them 8 billion euros ($9.06 billion) in pay raises.
There’s a partisan gap in how the pandemic is affecting the sex lives of Americans, with liberals significantly more likely than conservatives to report a slump in their sex lives, Politico reports.
What you’re doing
Our family consists of four households in four states spread along the Pacific and Atlantic coasts. We’re a close bunch, and in our Old Life, we all traveled often to see one another. Now that we can’t, my 12-year-old niece and I have been publishing a weekly online family newspaper to keep everyone posted on each other’s news.
— Sophia Kim, Los Angeles
Let us know how you’re dealing with the outbreak. Send us a response here, and we may feature it in an upcoming newsletter.