Governors say Trump’s order on pandemic relief would wreck state budgets.
Governors across the United States struggled on Monday with how to make good on President Trump’s order that their economically battered states deliver billions more in unemployment benefits to jobless residents.
Democrats were harshly critical of Mr. Trump’s order, which he signed on Saturday night after talks with Congress on a broad new pandemic aid package collapsed. But even Republican governors said the order could strain their budgets and worried it would take weeks for tens of millions of unemployed Americans to begin seeing the benefit.
Congress initially provided a $600-a-week supplement to unemployment benefits when the coronavirus pandemic shut down much of the United States in March. But that benefit lapsed on July 31, after talks between the White House and Congress broke down. Republicans had pushed for a $400 supplemental benefit, Democrats said it was not enough, and so on Saturday Mr. Trump ordered the $400 benefit — but said it was contingent on states to come up with $100 of that on their own.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York told reporters on Monday that Mr. Trump’s order would cost his state about $4 billion by the end of the year, making it little more than a fantasy. He said that no New Yorker would see enhanced unemployment benefits because of the president.
“This only makes a bad situation worse,” Mr. Cuomo said. “When you are in a hole, stop digging. This executive order only digs the hole deeper.”
His comments were echoed by Gov. Andy Beshear of Kentucky, a Democrat like Mr. Cuomo, who said Mr. Trump’s order would cost his state $1.5 billion through the end of the year.
“It’s not workable in its current form,” Mr. Beshear said. “It’s something virtually no state can afford.”
President Trump is considering new immigration regulations that would allow border officials to temporarily block American citizens and legal permanent residents from returning to the United States from abroad if authorities believe they may be infected with the coronavirus.
In recent months, Mr. Trump has imposed sweeping rules that ban entry by foreigners into the United States, citing the risk of allowing the virus to spread from hot spots abroad. But those rules have exempted two categories of people attempting to return: American citizens and noncitizens who have already established legal residence.
Now, a draft regulation would expand the government’s power to prevent entry by citizens and legal residents in individual, limited circumstances. Federal agencies have been asked to submit feedback on the proposal to the White House by Tuesday, though it is unclear when it might be approved or announced.
Under the proposal, which relies on existing legal authorities of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the government could block a citizen or legal resident from crossing the border into the United States if an official “reasonably believes that the individual either may have been exposed to or is infected with the communicable disease.”
The draft, parts of which were obtained by The Times, explicitly says that any order blocking citizens and legal permanent residents must “include appropriate protections to ensure that no Constitutional rights are infringed.” And it says that citizens and legal residents cannot be blocked as an entire class of people.
The documents appear not to detail how long a citizen or legal resident would be required to remain outside of the United States.
The draft memo says the prohibition on the introduction of U.S. citizens or legal residents from abroad would apply “only in the rarest of circumstances,” and “when required in the interest of public health, and be limited in duration.”
Still if Mr. Trump approves the change, it would be an escalation of his government’s longstanding attempts to seal the border against what he considers to be threats, using the existence of the coronavirus pandemic as a justification for taking actions that would have been seen as draconian in other contexts.
A spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security declined to comment. A spokesman for the C.D.C. said late Monday afternoon that he would seek to gather more information about the proposal.
It is unclear whether there are any existing rules that would allow American citizens and legal residents to be prohibited from returning to the United States for a period of time because of concerns about a communicable disease. Immigration officials have broad authority to deny entry to people based on national security issues.
The rule appears to apply to all points of entry into the United States, including at airports and along both the northern and southern borders. In particular, the draft could impact the border with Mexico, where many American citizens and legal residents cross back and forth frequently.
The rule notes the prevalence of the coronavirus in Mexico as evidence of the need for the modified rule, citing the death on August 2 of the health minister in the Mexican border state of Chihuahua, who the order says died of Covid-19 after a two week hospitalization.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson says that opening Britain’s schools next month is a “moral duty,” and that in the event of a resurgence of the virus, “the last thing we want to do is to close schools.”
To avoid the scenario that Mr. Johnson described Monday, medical experts said, the government will have to be ready to sacrifice a hallowed British institution — pubs, as well as restaurants, which reopened a few weeks ago but are increasingly viewed as among the greatest risks for spreading the virus.
Mr. Johnson’s drive to reopen schools has put him at odds with teachers’ unions and local governments, which generally accept that schools should reopen but argue that Britain’s system for testing and contact tracing is not robust enough to cope with the outbreaks that may follow.
The government, they said, has not developed plans for how teachers should handle sick students or communicate with parents if there is an outbreak. Mr. Johnson’s back-to-school campaign, some said, appeared to be rushed after the government had emphasized other priorities, like eating out in restaurants.
“The big question is, if you open schools, how long can you keep them open?” said Devi Sridhar, the director of the global health governance program at Edinburgh University. “If there’s spreading, do you shut down the whole school? Do you shut down a single class?”
Professor Sridhar said the safest way to open schools was to drive down the transmission rate — and the way to do that, she said, was to close “the nighttime economy.” In the Scottish city of Aberdeen, she noted, nearly 800 people were forced into quarantine because of an outbreak that the authorities traced to a handful of pubs.
“My message is, you have to choose,” she said. “Which part of the economy do you have to sacrifice? Something’s got to give.”
Mr. Johnson cannot order schools to open or close; those decisions are made by the local health authorities. But some teachers say they are eager to return to the classroom, viewing the health risks as manageable. Schools in Scotland plan to reopen this week, with England’s opening on Sept. 1.
Federal schools on Native American reservations, where infection rates can run high, are told to reopen.
The Trump administration is ordering schools operated by the Bureau of Indian Education to reopen for in-person instruction “to the maximum extent possible” on Sept. 16, according to an internal memo obtained by The New York Times.
The memo says that while families may choose to keep their students home and rely on virtual instruction, teachers are expected to teach in person unless they are at high risk for health complications should they contract the coronavirus.
The bureau operates 53 schools serving Native Americans living on tribal lands. A number of reservations have been hard-hit by the coronavirus, especially the Navajo Nation in the Southwest.
The bureau’s schools are among the few under direct federal control, rather than state or local control. The bureau is part of the Department of the Interior.
Sue Parton, a member of the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma and the president of the union that represents the bureau’s employees, said the plan to reopen the schools so soon was “foolish.”
Educators are afraid to return to classrooms, she said, because of high rates of infection in Native communities. But unlike teachers in local school districts, she said, the bureau’s teachers felt they had little say in what the schools should do.
“I think a big difference, of course, is us being federal employees,” Ms. Parton said. “We have our chain of command, and unfortunately it goes all the way to the top in D.C.”
President Trump has been urging all schools to reopen and did so again at a news conference on Monday, claiming children do not catch the virus easily or get very sick. But studies show that children carry high amounts of the virus once infected, and experts have repeatedly expressed concern that they could be a significant source of transmission in close-knit environments like schools.
On Monday in Kentucky, Gov. Andy Beshear said he recommended that schools delay the start of in-person classes until Sept. 28.
“It’s six weeks from what I hope is the peak of this virus,” he said. “In my very core, I want us to get back to in-person instruction. But to ask our kids to go in, and all of our teachers and faculty, at a time when it’s not safe, is something that we can’t ask of them, and I’m not willing to.”
Schools have already reopened in other states, only to quickly order quarantines or close their doors. North Paulding High School in Georgia, for example — which drew attention after images of its crowded hallways circulated on social media — said that it would switch to online instruction for Monday and Tuesday after reporting at least nine cases.
Gov. Gavin Newsom of California said Monday that the head of the state’s Department of Public Health resigned amid “personnel judgment questions” that contributed to the breakdown of the state’s disease reporting system.
Nearly 300,000 records, most of them from virus tests, disappeared from the system over the past two weeks, a problem that the state is currently rectifying.
“She wrote a resignation letter and I accepted her resignation,” Mr. Newsom said of the public heath director, Dr. Sonia Angell. “We are all accountable in our respective roles for what happens underneath us.”
In a letter to her colleagues at the California Department of Public Health, Dr. Angell on Sunday had cited “my own plans to depart from my position,” but did not give a specific reason for leaving.
The breakdown of the antiquated data system, which the governor on Monday vowed to replace, had clouded the overall picture of the virus’s progression in California, which as of Monday has had 10,378 deaths related to the virus, third in the nation after New York and New Jersey, and 567,908 confirmed cases, according to a database maintained by The New York Times.
On Monday Mr. Newsom said that despite testing delays and the problems with the disease reporting system that there were encouraging signs in the state’s fight against the virus. He cited a 19 percent decline in hospitalizations over the past two weeks. Last week the state had reported a 10 percent decline. Hospitalizations are counted using a separate system unaffected by the data problems.
Dr. Angell, who had been in her role for less than a year, was replaced by two people: Sandra Shewry, a veteran public health official, is now the acting director of the Department of Public Health, and Dr. Erica Pan, the former chief health officer of Alameda County, is now the acting state public health officer. In her role in Alameda County, Dr. Pan had clashed with Elon Musk, the billionaire entrepreneur and head of Tesla, over plans to reopen the company’s car factory in Fremont, Calif.
In other U.S. news:
Many medical experts — including members of his own staff — worry about whether Dr. Stephen Hahn, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration and one of the nation’s most powerful health officials, has the fortitude and political savvy to protect the scientific integrity of the F.D.A. from the president. Critics point to a series of worrisome responses to the epidemic under Dr. Hahn’s leadership, most notably the emergency authorization the agency gave to hydroxychloroquine, the drug promoted by Mr. Trump. The F.D.A. reversed its decision three months later because the treatment did not work and harmed some people.
At least seven courtrooms in San Antonio had to go offline for several minutes last week in what the authorities called a “Zoom bomb” attack. On Wednesday, virtual court hearings were interrupted with profanities, sexual images, graphic photos of courthouse shootings and a photograph from the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, court officials said. The same day, in Tampa, Fla., another virtual hearing went offline after pranksters posing as reporters interrupted a Zoom bond hearing for Graham Ivan Clark. Mr. Clark, 17, who pleaded not guilty to numerous charges, is accused of hijacking the Twitter accounts of Bill Gates, Barack Obama and Elon Musk, among others.
Gov. Lourdes Leon Guerrero of Guam posted on Twitter Monday that she had tested positive. Ms. Guerrero said in a statement that she had discovered on Wednesday that she had come into close contact with a relative who had tested positive for the virus.
As coronavirus infections surged in Texas this summer, Houston Methodist Hospital opened one intensive care unit after another for the most critically ill.
In one of the hospital’s I.C.U.s, many patients or their families gave Times reporters permission to follow their care. The 24-bed unit, where more than 60 percent of the patients who were there in mid-July identified as Hispanic, is a microcosm for a country where the pandemic has disproportionately affected Latinos.
Inside, machines beep to indicate danger, doctors rush in to perform procedures, and patients experience alternating waves of improvement and decline. Veteran staff members cry in their cars, never having seen so much severe illness and death all at once.
“It’s hurt me to see so many of my people,” said Lluvialy Faz, a critical care nurse on the unit who is Hispanic. “I feel like it’s really hit our community, and my community, more.”
Many of these patients endure cascading tragedies, with multiple relatives struck by the virus. A man recovers and goes home from the hospital, but leaves his critically ill wife behind. A patriarch with two dozen ailing family members fights for his life after attending his son’s funeral. And a grandmother may die because she celebrated a grandchild’s birthday.
Mexico is battling one of the worst outbreaks in the world, with at least 52,000 confirmed deaths, the third-highest toll of the pandemic. And its struggle has been made even harder by a pervasive phenomenon: a deeply rooted fear of hospitals.
The problem has long plagued nations overwhelmed by unfamiliar diseases. During the Ebola epidemic in 2014, many in Sierra Leone believed that hospitals had become hopeless death traps, leading sick people to stay home and inadvertently spread the disease to their families and neighbors.
In Mexico, a similar vicious cycle is taking place. As the pandemic crushes an already weak health care system, many Mexicans see the Covid ward as a place where only death awaits — to be avoided at all cost.
The consequences, doctors, nurses and health ministers say, are severe. Mexicans are waiting to seek medical care until their cases are so bad that doctors can do little to help them. Thousands are dying before ever seeing the inside of a hospital, government data show, succumbing to the virus in taxis on the way there or in sickbeds at home.
Fighting infections at home may not only spread the disease more widely, epidemiologists say, but it also hides the true toll of the epidemic because an untold number of people die without ever being tested.
Many Mexicans say they have good reason to be wary of hospitals: Nearly 40 percent of people hospitalized with confirmed cases in Mexico City, the center of the nation’s outbreak, end up dying, government data show, a high mortality rate even when compared with some of the worst coronavirus hot spots worldwide. During the peak of the pandemic in New York City, less than 25 percent of virus patients died in hospitals, studies have estimated.
While the statistic may be imprecise because of limited testing, doctors and researchers confirmed that a startling number of people are dying in Mexico’s hospitals.
In other news from around the world:
Vietnam, which did not record its first Covid-19 death until July 31, reported four on Tuesday, its highest daily number since the start of the pandemic. All 15 of the country’s fatalities so far were linked to an outbreak that began last month in the central city of Danang and infected nearly 400 people. The country now has a total of 847 confirmed cases.
England will overhaul its faltering coronavirus contact-tracing system, officials said on Monday, shifting some control from private contractors to local public health teams and cutting the jobs of thousands of call center workers who had complained of having no one to call. The changes were the clearest acknowledgment yet by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government that its centralized, privatized system for tracking down the patients’ contacts has come up short.
Clashes between protesters and the police erupted across Belarus on Monday, a day after President Aleksandr G. Lukashenko, who has denied that the coronavirus poses a health risk, declared victory in an election his critics dismissed as rigged.
People in France must wear face masks outdoors in crowded areas of Paris and other major cities beginning Monday as the number of virus infections rises at the fastest rate since a national quarantine ended in mid-May.
Antonio Banderas has tested positive for the virus, the actor announced on Twitter on Monday, his 60th birthday. In a message that originally appeared in Spanish, he reassured his followers that while his celebrations would be tempered by an isolation at home, he still felt relatively well, and was “confident” that he would recover soon.
The United States’ top health official lauded Taiwan’s democracy on Monday as he met with the island’s leader for a visit laden with symbols of stronger ties between Washington and the self-ruled island claimed by Beijing.
The mayor of Mexico City, Claudia Sheinbaum, announced on Monday she would self-quarantine after coming into contact with the city’s interior secretary, José Alfonso Suárez del Real y Aguilera, who announced on Twitter on Monday that he had tested positive for the virus.
NEW YORK ROUNDUP
New York has repurposed streets for walking, biking, dining and more, but what happens as traffic returns?
When New York went into lockdown five months ago to contain the virus, traffic virtually disappeared, and the mostly deserted streets suddenly became a vast trove of open space in one of the world’s most crowded cities.
But now as New York slowly recovers and cars are returning, a battle for the 6,000 miles of city streets is just beginning.
Desperate restaurant owners have put out tables and chairs and want to keep them there. Anxious parents see the streets as a solution to crowded indoor classrooms. Cyclists and pedestrians are demanding more safe corridors as their numbers soar. And some virus-wary commuters are avoiding public transit and climbing into cars to protect their health.
Competition for New York’s streets is nothing new — there have been growing calls in recent years to push cars aside — but the pandemic has emboldened more people than ever to stake their claim to a piece of asphalt and force a sweeping reimagining of the urban grid.
Under pressure from advocates for open spaces and the restaurant industry, the city has temporarily excluded cars from more than 70 miles of open streets for social distancing, biking and outdoor dining.
City officials have not presented any overall vision or comprehensive plan for redesigning the streets to accommodate more uses and have said they are waiting to see emerging traffic patterns as more people return to work and schools open for some in-person learning.
For now, they have taken a more piecemeal approach, including adding batches of open streets every few weeks and announcing five new busways to speed up service by taking cars off busy arteries. They have also expanded temporary outdoor dining to help restaurants, and Mayor Bill de Blasio said the dining setups would return after the winter.
But critics — many of whom have viewed Mr. de Blasio as a pro-driver mayor — have faulted what some describe as the city’s reactionary approach and contend that the moment is ripe for an ambitious blueprint, much like other cities are adopting to permanently redraw the streetscape.
In other New York news:
Wedding receptions at restaurants in New York State where indoor dining is allowed are not subject to the 50-person cap on gatherings that the governor imposed as part of the state’s coronavirus shutdown, a federal judge has ruled. The ruling, issued Friday by Judge Glenn Suddaby of Federal District Court for the Northern District of New York, would allow wedding venues to host parties of more than 50 people under the same rules that apply to restaurants. The rules now limit indoor service to half a restaurant’s typical capacity. Because indoor dining has not yet been allowed in New York City, the ruling would not appear to apply to wedding venues there.
Many top college football players have mounted a public campaign to salvage the fall season amid the pandemic, and to assert power in a multibillion-dollar industry that has always relied on their talents and often sought to silence their voices.
In messages on Twitter, the players, including the quarterbacks Justin Fields of Ohio State and Trevor Lawrence of Clemson, and the running back Najee Harris of Alabama, all posted the same image that led with: “We all want to play football this season.” They urged conferences to adopt universal health guidelines; said that players should be allowed to opt out, as some already have; and declared that they wanted to use their “voices to establish open communication and trust between players and officials.”
Later Monday, Mr. Trump joined the debate when he retweeted Mr. Lawrence and said, “The student-athletes have been working too hard for their season to be canceled. #WeWantToPlay.”
No Power 5 conference has abandoned plans for a football season, though all have cautioned for months that games were no sure bet. On Monday afternoon, a Big Ten official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private talks, said that the presidents and chancellors of the conference’s member schools had not taken a vote over whether to proceed with a season during recent meetings. (The conference is scheduled to open on Sept. 3.)
In other U.S. sports news:
On Monday, the Mountain West Conference announced “the indefinite postponement” of fall sports, making it the second top tier Division I football conference to do so after the Mid-American Conference and joining others, including the Ivy League, to dash hopes of having a fall season. Last week, Connecticut, an independent in football, canceled its season, and on Monday Old Dominion announced its season was canceled.
On Monday, for the 15th day in a row, the M.L.B. schedule included at least one postponement because of the coronavirus. The Miami Marlins are back from their outbreak, but now the St. Louis Cardinals are shut down through Thursday, at least, and haven’t played since late July. The Marlins had 20 positive tests, including 18 players. The Cardinals have had 17 positives, including 10 players. The infections have limited St. Louis to just five games this season; other teams will have played as many as 18 through Monday. If the Cardinals cannot slow their outbreak, which first emerged July 30, how can they play enough games to have a legitimate season? Rob Manfred, the commissioner of Major League Baseball, spoke to Tyler Kepner, The Times’ national baseball writer.
The human health care system has struggled financially through the pandemic, losing billions from the cancellations of lucrative elective operations as patients were first told to stay away from hospitals and then were leery of setting foot in one.
The canine and feline health system, though, is booming.
“It’s crazy, in a good way,” said Dr. Margot Vahrenwald, a veterinarian in Denver. “We’re probably seeing 25 percent more new pets than what we would normally. It feels busier, and we’re seeing increased revenue.”
While hospitals were furloughing workers, Dr. Vahrenwald, an owner of Park Hill Veterinary Medical Center, added five employees, and still has job listings for more. Her clinic has had to buy two phone lines to handle a deluge of calls from pet owners.
Animal hospitals appear to have pulled off something human hospitals have struggled to do: make patients feel comfortable seeking routine care.
Most veterinarians are now requiring curbside service — owners drop their pet at the door, and wait outside during the appointment — lessening the risk of being infected.
Their animal patients tend to be less susceptible to the coronavirus, although not completely immune. Some pets have become infected, and last month the first dog in the United States to test positive for the virus died.
Pet owners have, collectively, decided there is enough value in maintaining the health of their cats and dogs to brave the outside world at least a little more. Much of the increase in veterinary care seems to be for wellness visits and vaccinations. By contrast, primary care spending for humans is estimated to have dropped by $15 billion over the course of the pandemic.
The veterinary industry provides something else important that the human health system doesn’t: transparent prices. Veterinarians can typically provide reliable price estimates, in part because they have standard charges that don’t vary by type of insurance.
Patients may be reluctant to return to the human health system in part because they’ve lost coverage, or have less income, and are worried about the possibility of a surprise bill.
Reporting was contributed by Alan Blinder, Emily Bobrow, Luke Broadwater, Troy Closson, Emily Cochrane, Stacy Cowley, James Dobbins, Sheri Fink, Thomas Fuller, Christina Goldbaum, Kevin Granville, Jenny Gross, Mika Gröndhal, Andrew Higgins, Winnie Hu, Sheila Kaplan, Natalie Kitroeff, Sarah Kliff, Hari Kumar, Ron Lieber, Apoorva Mandavilli, Sarah Mervosh, Benjamin Mueller, Ivan Nechepurenko, Richard C. Paddock, Azi Paybarah, Amy Qin, Alan Rappeport, Emily Rhyne, Erin Schaff, Nate Schweber, Ed Shanahan, Eliza Shapiro, Michael D. Shear, Jeanna Smialek, Kaly Soto, Eileen Sullivan, Lucy Tompkins, Paulina Villegas, Mark Walker, Jeremy White, Katherine J. Wu, Sameer Yasir and Karen Zraick.