U.S. Shatters Its Record of New Coronavirus Infections as India’s Caseload Hits a Million

The United States reported more than 75,600 new cases on Thursday, a single-day record. India ranks third in the world in both total cases and new ones, and its rate of new infections is on track to overtake Brazil’s.

Follow our live updates of coronavirus cases and deaths globally.

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Credit...Max Whittaker for The New York Times

As clashes over face-covering mandates and school reopening plans intensified throughout the United States, the country shattered its single-day record for new cases on Thursday — more than 75,600, according to a New York Times database.

This was the 11th time in the past month that the record had been broken. The number has more than doubled since June 24, when the country registered 37,014 cases after a lull in the outbreak had kept the previous record, 36,738, standing for two months. As of Wednesday, the country’s seven-day average case number exceeded 63,000, up from about 22,200 a month before.

The previous single-day record, 68,241 cases, was announced last Friday.

Thursday’s record included more than 5,000 cases in Bexar County, Texas, which contains San Antonio, where numbers spiked in part because of a backlog in test reporting.

Florida on Thursday broke its single-day death record for the second time this week, reporting 156 new fatalities. It was one of 10 states to reach a record for deaths in a single day this week, joining Idaho, Alabama, Arizona, Utah, Oregon, Texas, Hawaii, Montana and South Carolina.

More than half the 50 states have issued mask requirements, including Arkansas, where Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, announced a face covering requirement on Thursday, after previously taking a more hands-off approach. Gov. Jared Polis of Colorado, a Democrat, also issued a mask order on Thursday, after questioning whether such a mandate would be enforceable.

But there remains firm resistance in many circles, including from some Republican leaders who view mask requirements as a threat to personal liberty.

Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia, who announced this week that he was suspending all local mask mandates, filed a lawsuit on Thursday challenging the authority of leaders in Atlanta to require masks inside their city’s limits.

Also on Thursday, health officials in Dallas announced that the city’s public and private schools would conduct classes virtually for the first three weeks of the school year, which begins Aug. 17. Several other large school districts have announced plans to rely on distance learning when they reopen for the upcoming school year, bucking pressure from the Trump administration.

The White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, on Thursday reiterated President Trump’s view that schools must open in the fall. “When he says open,” she said, “he means open and full, kids being able to attend each and every day at their school. The science should not stand in the way of this.”

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the U.S., noted in an interview Thursday on Facebook with its chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, that after its initial peak, the nation never succeeded in driving the virus beneath a plateau of about 20,000 new cases a day.

“What I think we need to do, and my colleagues agree, is we really almost need to regroup, call a timeout — not necessarily lock down again, but say that we’ve got to do this in a more measured way,” Dr. Fauci said. “We’ve got to get our arms around this and we’ve got to get this controlled.”

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Credit...Rafiq Maqbool/Associated Press

India on Friday surpassed a million confirmed infections and 25,000 deaths, weeks after the government lifted a nationwide lockdown in hopes of getting the economy up and running.

Back in March, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government was one of the first to impose a national lockdown to slow the pandemic. But that drove many migrant workers out of crowded cities and back to their home villages, where some of them spread the virus.

The lockdown came at a steep economic cost, and Mr. Modi lifted it last month. Now India is recording about 30,000 new cases a day, almost three times as many as a month ago, and with testing still sparse, the true figure is likely to be much higher.

Critics say that Mr. Modi imposed the lockdown before it was needed, then lifted it too soon. In his defense, he has pointed to wealthier countries where the official death toll has been 20 to 50 times as high, relative to the size of their populations, as in India.

Regardless, India now ranks third in the world — behind only the United States and Brazil — in both total infections and the number of new ones recorded each day. Along with South Africa, the four countries accounted for two-thirds of the 230,000 new cases that were reported worldwide on Wednesday.

The rate of new cases in India is on track to soon overtake Brazil, where the caseload has surpassed two million but the spread of the virus has leveled off. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology estimate that by the end of next year, India will have the worst outbreak in the world.

“We have paid a price for laxity,” said K. Srinath Reddy, president of the Public Health Foundation of India, a nonprofit organization of public health experts and academics.

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Credit...Zhang Yuwei/Xinhua, via Associated Press

The offer to employees at the state-owned oil giant was compelling: Be among the first in China to receive a coronavirus vaccine.

The employees at PetroChina could use one of two vaccines “for emergency use” to protect themselves when working overseas as part of China’s ambitious infrastructure program, according to a copy of the notice, which was reviewed by The New York Times. They would effectively be guinea pigs for testing the unproven vaccines outside official clinical trials.

The offer was backed by the government. It stressed that data from clinical trials showed that the products, both made by Sinopharm, were safe. It did not mention the possible side effects or warn against the false sense of security from taking a vaccine that had not been approved by regulators.

“I don’t think this is right ethically,” said Joan Shen, the Shanghai-based chief executive of the pharmaceutical firm I-Mab Biopharma.

The unorthodox move, to test people separately from the normal regulatory approval process, reflects the formidable challenge facing China as it races to develop the world’s first coronavirus vaccine.

Eager to find a long-term solution to the outbreak and burnish their scientific credentials, Chinese companies are rushing to get as much data as possible on their vaccines to prove they are safe and effective. In China, they are selectively testing their vaccines on small pools of people like the PetroChina employees — an approach that does not count toward the regulatory process but could bolster their own confidence in the vaccines.

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‘The Science Should Not Stand in the Way,’ McEnany Says of Reopening Schools

The White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, said President Trump wants schools to reopen despite the rise in coronavirus cases.

Now the president has said unmistakably that he wants schools to open. And I was just in the Oval talking him about that. And when he says open, he means open and full. Kids being able to attend each and every day at their school. The science should not stand in the way of this. And as Dr. Scott Atlas said — I thought this was a good quote — “Of course, we can do it. Everyone else in the Western world, our peer nations, are doing it. We are the outlier here.” The science is very clear on this, that, for instance, you look at the JAMA pediatric study of 46 pediatric hospitals in North America. That said the risk of critical illness from Covid is far less for children than that of seasonal flu. The science is on our side here. And we encourage for localities and states to just simply follow the science — open our schools. It’s very damaging to our children. There is a lack of reporting of abuse, there’s mental depressions that are not addressed, suicidal ideations that are not addressed when students are not in school. Our schools are extremely important. They’re essential and they must reopen.

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The White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, said President Trump wants schools to reopen despite the rise in coronavirus cases.CreditCredit...Doug Mills/The New York Times

With the United States averaging more new cases each day than ever, governors and mayors are scrambling to issue new mask orders and limit the size of gatherings, and schools are trying to figure out what kind of instruction they can offer this fall.

Latest Updates: The Coronavirus Outbreak

Updated

Several large school districts — including in Houston, Los Angeles and San Francisco — said this week that they would open the academic year with online classes, bucking pressure from President Trump and his administration to get students back into classrooms.

Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, said Thursday that Mr. Trump still wants to see schools reopen.

“When he says open, he means open and full, kids being able to attend each and every day at their school,” she said. “The science should not stand in the way of this.”

Ms. McEnany then referenced data published in JAMA Pediatrics, a respected medical journal published by the American Medical Association, that indicated the risk of children contracting the coronavirus was low compared with seasonal influenza.

“The science is on our side here,” Ms. McEnany said, adding that the United States is an “outlier” among other countries sending children back to school. But no other country has decided to try and send children back to school with the virus continuing to surge, and relatively little is still known about the role children play in transmitting the illness.

In Dallas County, Texas, local health officials announced Thursday that both public and private schools would conduct classes virtually for the first three weeks of the school year, which begins on Aug. 17.

The increase in infections has prompted new restrictions by governors from both parties. Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, a Republican, and Gov. Jared Polis of Colorado, a Democrat, each announced new orders on Thursday requiring most people in their states to wear masks in certain public settings. The governors of Alabama and Montana did the same on Wednesday.

Global Roundup

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Credit...Oded Balilty/Associated Press

The Israeli government announced new coronavirus restrictions early Friday as the number of cases in the country continued to swell and the government faced further criticism for its handling of the pandemic.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Office and the Health Ministry said in a statement that gyms would be closed and almost all restaurants would be limited to takeaway and delivery services, starting at 5 p.m. on Friday.

Beaches, they said, would be inaccessible during most of the weekends, starting on July 24.

The new restrictions come after Israel reimposed other measures to stem the spread of the virus last week.

Since late June, infections in Israel have soared. The nation is averaging more than 1,500 cases a day, up from 664 two weeks ago, and unemployment stands at more than 20 percent.

In the past several weeks, Mr. Netanyahu’s government has come under sharp criticism for its management of the virus crisis, especially its economic fallout. Last Saturday, thousands of Israelis rallied in Tel Aviv to protest the government’s handling of the pandemic’s economic fallout.

Here’s what else is happening around the world:

  • Japan’s government faced a social media backlash on Friday after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government said that people from Tokyo — and anyone traveling there — would be excluded from a $16 billion campaign to spur sagging domestic tourism. Tokyo was expected to announce more than 290 new cases on Friday, a day after hitting a record high of 286.

  • In Australia, the state of Victoria reported 428 new cases on Friday, another single-day record. “We are in the fight of our lives,” Victoria’s health minister, Jenny Mikakos, told reporters in Melbourne, the locked-down state capital.

  • The authorities in the Philippines said on Friday that foreigners with long-term visas could begin entering the country in August, for the first time since March. They will be quarantined, monitored and tested.

  • France will make masks compulsory in all public indoor areas starting next week, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced on Thursday, as the authorities try to contain an uptick in coronavirus cases in recent days. President Emmanuel Macron initially suggested the rule would go into effect on Aug. 1, but Mr. Castex said that “sounded late.”

  • The United Nations issued an appeal to the most affluent countries on Thursday for $10.3 billion in emergency aid to fight the coronavirus pandemic in low-income and especially vulnerable populations. That is more than five times the aid initially sought four months ago by the organization to deal with the scourge.

  • The authorities in Bangladesh have arrested the owner of a hospital accused of selling thousands of certificates showing a negative result on coronavirus tests to migrant workers, when in fact many tests were never performed. There is a huge market for these certificates among migrant workers from Bangladesh, one of the poorest countries in Asia, who are eager to get back to work in Europe.

  • The World Health Organization raised the alarm on Thursday about a growing Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It said that 56 cases had been reported in Equator Province, more than during the last outbreak, in 2018. Officials said that the coronavirus pandemic had complicated the response to the Ebola outbreak, and warned of an imminent shortage of funds.

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Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will spearhead a new campaign to push Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to tax billionaires who live in New York State and to use the money to assist people hurt by the pandemic-fueled economic crisis.

Similar measures targeting the wealthy have stalled in Albany, opposed by Republicans who long controlled the State Senate or by Mr. Cuomo, a third-term Democrat who has made tax cutting a central platform of his decade-long tenure.

But the environment has changed: Democrats gained control of both houses of the Legislature in 2018, and the effects of the coronavirus-forced shutdown have created a $13 billion state budget shortfall.

Jessica Ramos, a state senator from Queens who was among the progressive Democrats who won office in 2018, sponsored the bill, which would tax the unrealized capital gains of the state’s 119 billionaires. The money raised would be redirected to workers not eligible for unemployment insurance or the federal stimulus.

The proposed legislation is one of at least three tax-the rich bills that will greet the State Legislature when it returns for a rare July session on Monday.

Mr. Cuomo has argued that taxes that target high earners could drive them out of the state and further damage the tax base — a concern that the governor’s budget director, Robert Mujica, underscored in an interview on Wednesday.

New York already has one of the highest tax rates for the wealthy in the country, Mr. Mujica said. The only effective way to get billionaires to pay more, he added, would be for Congress to enact a wealth tax.

A scathing op-ed article by President Trump’s top trade adviser that declared Dr. Anthony S. Fauci “wrong about everything” caused a fissure at the White House this week, with Trump aides scrambling to disavow the attack on one of the most trusted public figures of the coronavirus crisis.

Now the article, written by Peter Navarro, has generated second thoughts at the newspaper that published it, USA Today.

In a note published Wednesday evening, a day after the article was posted online, Bill Sternberg, the editorial page editor of USA Today, wrote that several of Mr. Navarro’s attacks on Dr. Fauci “were misleading or lacked context.” He concluded that the op-ed, which appeared in print Wednesday, “did not meet USA Today’s fact-checking standards.”

Mr. Sternberg said the newspaper had solicited the article from Mr. Navarro as a countervailing view to an editorial that also ran in Wednesday’s newspaper. That article, attributed to the paper’s editorial board — and therefore carrying the institutional imprimatur — criticized Mr. Trump for sidelining Dr. Fauci and praised the doctor as a “national treasure.”

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Russian hackers are attempting to steal coronavirus vaccine research, the U.S., British and Canadian governments said Thursday, opening a dangerous new front in the cyberwars and intelligence battles between Moscow and the West.

The National Security Agency said APT29, the hacking group known as Cozy Bear that is associated with Russian intelligence, has been taking advantage of the chaos created by the pandemic to target health care organizations in search of intelligence on vaccines, Julian E. Barnes reports.

The Russian hackers have been targeting British, Canadian and American organizations researching vaccines, using spear-phishing and malware to try to get access to the research.

“We condemn these despicable attacks against those doing vital work to combat the coronavirus pandemic,” said Paul Chichester, the director of operations for Britain’s National Cyber Security Center.

Cozy Bear is one of the most high profile, and successful, hacking groups associated with the Russian government, and was implicated alongside the group Fancy Bear in the 2016 hacking of the Democratic National Committee.

“APT29 has a long history of targeting governmental, diplomatic, think-tank, health care and energy organizations for intelligence gain so we encourage everyone to take this threat seriously and apply the mitigations issued in the advisory,” said Anne Neuberger, the N.S.A.’s cybersecurity director.

The British and Canadian governments said Thursday that Cozy Bear is almost certainly part of the Russian intelligence services.

Companies and researchers worldwide are rushing to test hundreds of possible treatments meant to prevent or quell coronavirus infections. Some they hope will block the virus itself, nipping a burgeoning infection in the bud, while others are aimed at mimicking the immune system or quieting an overactive immune response.

The New York Times is cataloging some of the most talked-about drugs, devices and therapies in a new tracker that summarizes the evidence for and against each proposed treatment. The tracker includes 20 treatments so far; five have strong evidence of efficacy, three are pseudoscience, and the rest fall somewhere in between.

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Credit...Scott McIntyre for The New York Times

Cruise ships will not be allowed to resume regular departures from the United States until October at the soonest, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.

In a scathing 20-page order, Dr. Robert R. Redfield, the director of the C.D.C., blamed the cruise industry for widespread transmission of the coronavirus.

Dr. Redfield also said that cruise lines had done little to stop the spread among crew members, failing to comply with social-distancing measures like closing crew gyms and stopping staff social gatherings.

The industry had already voluntarily suspended operations until Sept. 15, but the C.D.C. order makes clear that it has a long way to go before public health officials allow cruise vacations to begin again.

The agency pointed to 99 outbreaks on 123 ships in U.S. waters alone. “During this time frame, 80 percent of ships were affected by Covid-19,” it said in a statement.

Nine ships still had active outbreaks among crew members as of July 3. One ship, the Disney Wonder, had an outbreak that lasted 10 weeks, the agency said.

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Credit...Erin Trieb for The New York Times

Federal health officials in Washington on Thursday instructed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to restore coronavirus data that it had removed from the C.D.C. website, amid growing concern over the way information on the pandemic was being collected and disseminated to the public.

The disease control centers had removed some information from its website on Wednesday, after its parent agency, the Department of Health and Human Services, ordered hospitals to begin reporting directly to a new central database, called H.H.S. Protect, in Washington, instead of to the C.D.C.

The new way of collecting data has alarmed public health experts and researchers who rely on the C.D.C. for coronavirus data, and who consider the federal agency an independent source of scientific information. But Health Department officials said the new database was necessary to streamline data collection.

On Thursday, a spokesman for the Health Department, Michael Caputo, said officials there had instructed the C.D.C. to restore the data. The news of the restoration was first reported by CNN; a C.D.C. official confirmed that the data was being restored.

“H.H.S. is committed to being transparent with the American public about the information it is collecting on the coronavirus,” Mr. Caputo said in a statement to CNN. “Therefore, H.H.S. has directed C.D.C. to re-establish the coronavirus dashboards it withdrew from the public on Wednesday. Going forward, H.H.S. and C.D.C. will deliver more powerful insights on the coronavirus, powered by H.H.S. Protect.”

In a briefing with reporters at the on Thursday, Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, said that the H.H.S. database yields a more complete picture of the coronavirus than the current National Health Care Safety Network used by the C.D.C., but she stopped short of saying the public would have access to the new system.

“The intent of this is we need make sure there is daily data that is being given to Dr. Birx,” she said of Dr. Deborah L. Birx, the administration’s coronavirus response coordinator, “and others who are running point on a lot of our actions.”

Ms. McEnany said that the new system had been established because officials found that only 81 percent of hospitals participating in the C.D.C.’s network had been funneling regular updates on daily admissions, I.C.U. use, and P.P.E. usage.

Addressing concerns about the accessibility of the new database, she said that the data would be open source and open to the C.D.C. But when asked if the new and broader database would be available to the public and experts hoping to model the path of the coronavirus, she would not say that the administration would commit to making that data available.

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Credit...Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

The American economy is continuing its halting recovery, a pair of U.S. government reports revealed Thursday.

​​The Commerce Department said that retail sales rose 7.5 percent in June after a record surge in May, as federal stimulus checks and tax refunds continued to fuel a burst of summertime spending at newly reopened stores and restaurants. The increases follow two months of steep declines.

The rise in cases in states including California, Florida and Texas is raising the specter of another shutdown, which would be a major blow for store-based retailers.

The Labor Department said Thursday that 1.3 million laid-off workers filed initial claims last week for state unemployment benefits. That continues a decline since the peak in late March, but is still higher than levels ever seen before the pandemic and is the 17th consecutive week of more than one million claims.

Hanging over the economy are new restrictions imposed by states after a surge in cases. California has shut bars and banned indoor dining after it had relaxed restrictions. Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas ordered bars to close and restaurants to operate at 50 percent capacity after earlier saying that new limits on business would be the “last option.”

Economic statistics have provided a mixed picture of jobs. On the one hand, the government reported on July 2 that employers added 4.8 million jobs last month, with the unemployment rate falling to 11.1 percent. Both are healthy signs. But the continuing layoffs underscore just how vulnerable workers remain.

Listen to ‘The Daily’: Reopening, Warily: Revisiting Jasmine Lombrage

A restaurant owner in Louisiana grappled with the decision to reopen. This is what has happened to her since.
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Listen to ‘The Daily’: Reopening, Warily: Revisiting Jasmine Lombrage

Hosted by Michael Barbaro, produced by Clare Toeniskoetter, Daniel Guillemette, Annie Brown and Sydney Harper, and edited by Liz O. Baylen and Larissa Anderson.

A restaurant owner in Louisiana grappled with the decision to reopen. This is what has happened to her since.

michael barbaro

Hey. It’s Michael. This week, we’re revisiting people we met in the early weeks of the pandemic, listening back and hearing what’s happened to them since our original conversations.

Today: Jasmine Lombrage, a restaurant owner in Baton Rouge.

It’s Thursday, July 16.

[music]

michael barbaro

From The New York Times, I’m Michael Barbaro. This is “The Daily.”

When Louisiana’s stay at home order expires today, restaurants across the state can begin allowing customers back inside at their own discretion. That decision now lies with restaurant owners, like Jasmine Lombrage.

It’s Friday, May 15.

jasmine lombrage

Hello?

michael barbaro

Hi.

jasmine lombrage

Hi, how are you?

michael barbaro

Oh, good. You sound great right now.

jasmine lombrage

Wonderful, wonderful. Hi. I’m Jasmine Lombrage.

michael barbaro

Hi, Jasmine. I’m Michael Barbaro.

jasmine lombrage

Hi, nice — nice to meet you this way.

michael barbaro

Very nice to meet you this way. Where exactly am I reaching you?

jasmine lombrage

I am at the Bullfish Bar Plus Kitchen here in Baton Rouge, La.

michael barbaro

That’s your restaurant?

jasmine lombrage

Yes.

michael barbaro

So how long have you lived in Baton Rouge?

jasmine lombrage

Me, personally, about 17 years. My husband has been here over 20 years. And we have two girls, two beautiful girls, Gaby — she’s turning 11 next month — and we have our gorgeous Angelle. She’s nine.

michael barbaro

How did you and your husband meet?

jasmine lombrage

[LAUGHS] It’s an old love story. We met at school. I was in dental hygiene school, and he was in culinary school. And he was working at that cafeteria. My friends said that they have good food over there, and they wanted to go. And so we went over there, and he was a quiet guy in the corner doing his own thing. I said, excuse me, what do you have here that is good and healthy that I can eat? And he looks up, and he said, Nothing is good enough for you.

michael barbaro

Oh, jeez.

jasmine lombrage

And then I turned to walk away, and he said, But if you come back tomorrow, I’ll make something for you.

michael barbaro

Mm-hmm.

jasmine lombrage

And I just kind of smiled and said, No, thank you. And I had a few friends who are like, Yes, we’re coming back tomorrow. So the next day, he made something for me. He made stir fry, and my friends — I had one of my crazy friends. She said — I said, I’m not going to eat. I don’t know if this guy is some kind of psycho or crazy and he’s going to put something in my food. She’s like, “Well, I’m going to eat. If nothing happens to me in a few minutes, then you — you can try it.” So that’s what happened. And he came back and asked, how was everything? I said, it was good. And then we started talking. Then — no then he said I’m going to be his wife, and I said, I’m sorry. That’s not going to happen. You know, and he said, well, he’s a praying man. He always gets his heart desire.

michael barbaro

[LAUGHS]

jasmine lombrage

Yes, 10 years later, we ended up married.

michael barbaro

So when you — when you two met, you were a dental hygienist student. He was training to be a chef.

jasmine lombrage

Yes.

michael barbaro

And so how did you end up in the food industry?

jasmine lombrage

Well, growing up, my mom always cooked, you know, for many people. So it was always a passion. I grew up cooking also with mom and just family and aunts. We just — that was just something we did.

And then Angel, my husband, Chef Angel, my husband, you know, we — he was the executive corporate chef that started Voodoo BBQ & Grill, which is a restaurant here in the South. And he was known as the Pitmaster. And so what we did, we started Jazz City then, Jazz City was a catering company. And we were — he was like, well, this is what I love to do. And we wanted to do something — we have two young kids. We know that, you know, you can work hard for anyone and everyone, but really, if you want to leave that — create something for your family, you need to create something so that it can stay down and passed down for generations and generations and possibly grow. And that is our goal is to have it grow and flourish.

And we ended up here at the Bullfish, and Bullfish was already — it was a restaurant previously owned by someone else. And when we came here, we made it our own by bringing new menu items. And this is the only place you can come in Louisiana and find an authentic Caribbean and Southern fusion cuisine. What he’s done, what Chef has mastered, he’s taken the fresh herbs that we have in the Caribbean, and then he’s merged it with the wonderful spices that we have here in Louisiana. And he — there’s a fusion of jerk, fish, and Southern barbecue shrimp.

michael barbaro

Mm.

jasmine lombrage

Yes. And the paella — you know, Chef makes a paella with — you know, he uses scallops. And the crawfish, which is from Louisiana, he infuses that with the andouille sausage, and then he puts the shrimp in there and the crab meat. And so it’s just the different twist that he puts on all of the dishes. It’s just magic in your mouth.

michael barbaro

Mm.

jasmine lombrage

And I don’t know if you heard the music in the background a little. We kind of use a lot of Caribbean kind of music from different parts of the Caribbean, and we play different music from here. The vibe is just so, I don’t need a passport, but I can get away here. Does that makes sense?

michael barbaro

Mm-hmm. It’s funny you keep calling your husband “chef.” Is that how you refer to him?

jasmine lombrage

At work, we keep it professional. At home, well, when we get in a car, it’s “honey.” But when we’re at work, we refer to each other — I refer to him as Chef, and he would just say whatever he had to say to me or, OK, yes, ma’am, and that would be it.

michael barbaro

Got it.

jasmine lombrage

Yes.

michael barbaro

And when did you take over the restaurant?

jasmine lombrage

That was last year, 2019, May 22, 2019.

michael barbaro

OK. So just about — just about a year ago.

jasmine lombrage

Yes. And this restaurant, the Bullfish, it is personal for us, because our home is connected to the Bullfish.

michael barbaro

Huh.

jasmine lombrage

Yes. So that’s why this pandemic — I personally have spent many nights not sleeping, because I know our home is connected to it. It’s not like we have 5, 6, 7, 20 locations. This is all we have. In our home, we have two kids. My daughter, my oldest, Gaby, she’s autistic. I don’t know — I mean, I don’t know what’s going to happen, but for now, she’s depending on us to care for her. So as she grows, the home is — before we committed our home to the Bullfish — was part of the security blanket that we had. In the event something happened, she would have that.

michael barbaro

Tell me what you mean when you say that your home is connected to Bullfish. You mean physically or emotionally or what?

jasmine lombrage

Well, whenever you get a loan, you have to give some kind of guarantee, like a personal guarantee. And that’s what we did, you know. We took that leap of faith and decided that we were going to put 100 percent in here to make it work. So we have to make the Bullfish work.

michael barbaro

So if something were to happen to the restaurant, it would mean potentially losing your home?

jasmine lombrage

Yes.

michael barbaro

And it sounds like that house is something you plan on passing on to your daughter, who’s autistic.

jasmine lombrage

Yes, well, both of our girls, but we know her, at least, we can have somewhere for her in case she needed somewhere to be, and then we can have that there for her. That is something that always gets me emotional talking about, because —

michael barbaro

Mm-hmm.

jasmine lombrage

[CRYING] I’m sorry.

michael barbaro

I understand.

jasmine lombrage

It’s — you know, and she’s standing in front of me looking at me now. And we want to do whatever it takes to make it work.

You know, we just have to make it work. So when this pandemic started, it really gave us a scare, because if we’re not able to pay for everything, and we default on our loan, well, we understood the consequences, you know.

michael barbaro

Was there a moment when you felt that you had really kind of made it with this place, having bought it and started to make it your own?

jasmine lombrage

Yes. About a month before the pandemic, we were like, yeah, this was a good choice. My husband and I, we usually go to early morning service for church, and afterwards, we came here for brunch. And then before we were open, we had people waiting outside for us.

michael barbaro

Wow.

jasmine lombrage

It was wonderful. And we were like, OK, wow, this is really going to work. This is really working. And wow, honey, this is our baby, and we’re going to grow it, and we’re going to be able to pay up the loan, and we’re going to be able to just blow this thing out of the park. And then the pandemic started. And yes.

michael barbaro

When did you first start to notice that the pandemic was impacting the restaurant?

jasmine lombrage

OK, early March — early March, because it was February was good with Valentine’s Day. Early March is when everything started changing, and as March went on, the governor shut down the state. This is when, you know, you started losing staff members saying they’re not coming out. I mean, you cannot blame them. We also started doing curbside delivery, and we were doing social media posts and putting up signs, handwritten signs offering discounts, letting people know that curbside pickup is available, just getting different yard signs made.

michael barbaro

So you have to put up signs in the windows or outside telling people, we’re still around, you just need to call in.

jasmine lombrage

Yes, yes, yes. And then about maybe the second week after the state was closed, we would be lucky if we got two people that would call for curbside pickup. And we would just be sitting here the entire day, 11 to 8, and there’s no one that would come by or no one that would call. So then I started calling the restaurant phone a couple of times to make sure the phone was working, because it never rang. We were there for hours.

michael barbaro

So you called the restaurant’s main number with your cell phone just to see if it was working.

jasmine lombrage

Yes. [LAUGHS]

michael barbaro

Wow

jasmine lombrage

And, you know, I started reaching out to third party — third party delivery providers to see if I can sign up with them, like Uber Eats and Waitr and DoorDash and ChowNow. And they’re charging — some of them are charging from 25 percent to 35 percent.

michael barbaro

Per order?

jasmine lombrage

Yeah, that’s your food costs. Yes. You know, in addition to that, we’re not able to buy in bulk anymore, because we’ve wasted so much food. We’ve thrown away so much stuff, so now we’re having to go ourselves, Chef and I, to different mom and pop stores that are open, and we’re having to purchase items. Of course, now you’re paying more money for them, because you’re not buying the same quantity anymore, and you’re buying from a local retailer. So, you know, and then we have a bar here, and we weren’t — no one was coming out to drink anymore, so that went away. So yeah, the pandemic, you know, it’s been hard on us.

michael barbaro

Mm-hm. I’m so sorry.

jasmine lombrage

Yes.

michael barbaro

So with these delivery apps, these new sources of orders, how much money do you make off of any individual customer percentage-wise?

jasmine lombrage

Right now, you don’t, because the fact that we’re buying things from not just local distributors but smaller volume — we’re buying things in smaller volume, so our profit margin is smaller. So we’re basically not making anything. You’re keeping the doors open, but you’re not making anything from it.

michael barbaro

Can you give us a sense of where your daughters have been throughout this period? At what point was their schooling interrupted?

jasmine lombrage

Maybe March. Angelle, when did school close? March or April?

angelle lombrage

[FAINT] It closed in March.

jasmine lombrage

OK, school closed in March.

michael barbaro

Mm-hmm.

jasmine lombrage

I used to bring my — I still do bring my two girls, so I can homeschool them, because school — they are out of school. So I use a corner of the restaurant, and I do schooling there for my girls. But it was a challenge. The change was not welcomed and open for the girls, especially my oldest, Gaby.

michael barbaro

What do you mean?

jasmine lombrage

You know, with autism, everything has to be — you need to have something — everything scheduled and everything has a plan you need to follow through. And this whole pandemic kind of just went haywire for her in the beginning. She was not sleeping. She was more agitated. And my youngest, Angelle, she kept saying she wanted to go back to school, so I had to find other ways to help them. So —

michael barbaro

And Jasmine, I think I hear your daughters in the background. Is that right?

jasmine lombrage

Yes, you do.

michael barbaro

Do you think there was a point where your daughters picked up on what has been happening for you and your husband, but beyond the stresses that they’re experiencing, you know, from not being at school and social distancing, that they understood that you and your husband are struggling with this business and struggling financially?

jasmine lombrage

I think so. There is one incident. My daughter, my youngest, she — you know, she gets allowance, and someone gives her money or whatever. And she saved the money, and one day, she wrote a note. And then she left a note on the bed, on my bed. I was taking a bath, and I came out, and she had a note saying that, Mom, I know you and Dad are working really hard, and things are really tough. I have some money saved. I hope this helps for you to pay for stuff.

michael barbaro

Oh, wow.

jasmine lombrage

Yes. That was hard. That was hard.

michael barbaro

How old is this daughter who left you —

jasmine lombrage

Angelle was 8 when she did that. She just turned 9 in April. So she had a pandemic birthday.

michael barbaro

Can I ask how much she gave you?

jasmine lombrage

I think it was like $57 she had.

michael barbaro

Wow.

And what did you do with it?

jasmine lombrage

I still have it saved.

I still have it there. I try not to use it. It was just such a touching moment, and just to see, you know, that they realize, kids realize more than you let them know. And knowing that they’re here like almost every single day with me, and —

michael barbaro

They see everything.

jasmine lombrage

Yes.

michael barbaro

How bad are things, financially speaking, right now?

jasmine lombrage

Not close at all to where we want to be. Not good at all. Not good at all. We have applied for a lot of, you know, small business loans, and we’re just waiting to hear back.

michael barbaro

Have you been able to cover all the payments that you owe to the bank?

jasmine lombrage

I haven’t. I think finance is one of the things people don’t like to talk about, but I haven’t been able to meet a lot of — I had to ask for abatements. So we’ll see what happens.

michael barbaro

Mm-hmm.

I mean, do you think there is a situation that you could imagine using that money from your youngest daughter, that $57?

jasmine lombrage

I don’t want to — I don’t want to, because it’s hers. Even though she gave it to me, it’s hers. I do not want — I don’t want to.

michael barbaro

Right.

jasmine lombrage

I —

I’m just afraid to — I’m just afraid to even think about a situation like that.

[music]

michael barbaro

We’ll be right back.

Jasmine, for listeners who don’t know what the rules are in Louisiana, what was announced earlier this week?

jasmine lombrage

Well, restaurants — commencing Friday, you can, restaurants can be open for 25 percent of the capacity.

michael barbaro

So you can seat up to 25 percent of what would normally fit inside the restaurant. So how many people do you think that is?

jasmine lombrage

Well, we can seat about 90 people comfortably in here. And so about 25 percent of that now is what we’re allowed to do.

michael barbaro

So if you can only put, you know, 20 or so people inside, can you make money?

jasmine lombrage

I don’t see how that’s going to happen, to be honest with you, because 20 percent — having 20 percent of people inside the business is not enough to sustain, and I don’t know how long that’s going to go on for.

michael barbaro

Right.

jasmine lombrage

So [SIGHS] it’s hard. It’s a hard thing to digest right now.

michael barbaro

But you have decided that you’re going to let people back inside?

jasmine lombrage

Honestly, me, personally, no. So it is still an open debate. We — actually, after I’m done with this interview, we’re going to sit down and weigh our options, the pros and the cons, and see if it’s something that we want to do.

michael barbaro

Can I ask you what you see as the cons and the pros?

jasmine lombrage

Yeah, the pros — that, you know, we’ll have 25 percent more revenue than what we’re seeing now. And then the cons is knowing that someone will — I’m afraid that, oh, my god, somebody’s going to come out, and they’re a carrier of Covid-19, and they infect somebody else. So I have no way of controlling that.

michael barbaro

Have you heard from customers about their opinions on whether it’s time to go back inside the restaurant?

jasmine lombrage

Yes, I have. I’ve had mixed reviews. We tend to ask customers, whenever they’re picking up or, are they ready for everything to open back up. That’s normally the question we would ask. And I feel that I’m getting more nos than yes, though, in my opinion.

michael barbaro

Mm.

jasmine lombrage

Yes.

michael barbaro

Those who have told you, Jasmine, that they do want to come out, what did they say is their reason for wanting to come out, to come back and eat in a restaurant?

jasmine lombrage

They want to get out of the house. You know, sometimes it’s just the fact that you cannot do something makes you want to do it.

michael barbaro

[LAUGHS] Yes. Yes, the forbidden fruit. Yes.

jasmine lombrage

Yes. My point, that’s exactly. Like, oh, you tell me I cannot eat this? OK, I’m going to. So yes, that’s what I feel I’m getting.

michael barbaro

I wonder, for you, if you didn’t run a restaurant, would you go out and eat right now? Would you walk into a restaurant, sit down, order food?

jasmine lombrage

I would probably go out on a weekday, because weekdays are usually less busy, because I have a child that has a compromised immune system. So I’m usually very careful to go out. I don’t want to take something home to her, so that would be another reason that I personally will not go out. And if I did go out, minus my daughter’s situation, I would have definitely found the seat — ask to be seated in the area that is far away from everybody else.

michael barbaro

I mean it’s interesting to hear you say that, that you wouldn’t want to go to a restaurant unless it was specifically at a slow time because of the health of your daughter, because you’re talking about yourself reopening a restaurant. So it’s quite a weird conundrum.

jasmine lombrage

Yes, but it’s honest.

michael barbaro

I just want to make sure I understand which of your daughters is immunocompromised.

jasmine lombrage

Gaby is.

michael barbaro

Is that the daughter who is autistic?

jasmine lombrage

Yes, because she was a former premature baby. I ruptured at 14 weeks when I was pregnant with her, and she had a lot of health challenges. They said, you know, that Gaby would never walk, talk, see, or hear. She was not via — she does not have any viability of life, and that she would never make it out of the hospital alive, you know. We were told that we were making a mistake for her. She coded, and it was even pronounced, and she came back. And she had a trach before, and she was on a ventilator before. She was on oxygen for the first — almost the first four years of her life.

You know, she started talking late, walking late, and she had to do therapy, and, you know, she had a walker. So she had a lot of challenges to see where she is now and where she came from. So I’m always careful, you know. A typical cold for you and I is just a cold, but for her, it can lead to pneumonia, or we’ve lost her. We’ve had her stop breathing a couple times, and nothing —

I don’t even know how to explain that.

michael barbaro

Mm. Given your daughter’s health, are you worried that you’re going to basically be in the kind of situation it sounds like you’re afraid of kind of all the time, because people are going to be coming into your restaurant, and they could potentially get you sick, and you could potentially get your daughter sick?

jasmine lombrage

Yes. You know, I don’t know what I would do if I find myself bringing something to my child. So I find myself in a very difficult position as a business owner.

michael barbaro

That would be very hard to live with. I understand.

jasmine lombrage

That would — yes. You know —

michael barbaro

I mean, it sounds — it sounds like that —

jasmine lombrage

[SIGHS]

michael barbaro

— that has to — that has to be weighing on you as you’re making this decision.

jasmine lombrage

Yes, it is. It is. It is. This is personal. This is not like, oh, OK, well, I’m just going to open and make the money. It’s not that situation for me. I have to be careful for it. I am responsible for her, and I’m also responsible for my customers, making sure they have the best experience. And I’m also responsible for my team that are coming to work. So —

michael barbaro

And you’re also responsible for that house —

jasmine lombrage

Yes!

michael barbaro

— that is connected to this —

jasmine lombrage

Right!

michael barbaro

— restaurant.

jasmine lombrage

Yes.

michael barbaro

Yeah.

jasmine lombrage

So my hands are tied. Like, yes. It — yes, I’m just — I’m just in a bind.

Yeah, I’m just in a bind right now. And say hi, Gaby.

gaby lombrage

Hi.

michael barbaro

Hi, Gaby.

jasmine lombrage

Say hi. It’s OK.

gaby lombrage

Hi.

michael barbaro

Oh, I want to see you on the video. Nice to meet you, Gaby.

jasmine lombrage

Can you see her? I don’t know how this works.

michael barbaro

Mm-hmm. I can see her. Yeah, she’s got a great — she’s got a leopard patterned sweater on.

jasmine lombrage

Yes. Are you going to talk?

gaby lombrage

Hi.

michael barbaro

Hi. Gaby is waving.

gaby lombrage

How are you doing?

michael barbaro

I’m doing well. Your mom was just telling us about you.

She — she loves you.

jasmine lombrage

Yes. [LAUGHS] Yes.

michael barbaro

She loves you — she loves you very much.

jasmine lombrage

I do. I love you, Gab.

gaby lombrage

I love you, too.

jasmine lombrage

OK.

michael barbaro

Well, that was — that was a nice gift.

jasmine lombrage

Yes, she walked up, so. [SIGH] I’m sorry.

michael barbaro

Yeah, just give me a sec. Oof.

jasmine lombrage

I’m sorry. I didn’t mean that —

michael barbaro

No, I —

jasmine lombrage

Hence the reason why I’m torn up. For someone that was 1 pound, 3 ounces when she was born, she is like — she’s like — I mean she’s beautiful. She’s doing so well. And then this is so scary.

michael barbaro

Yeah.

jasmine lombrage

This is so scary, you know. And then it’s a hard decision. I — we don’t open up, then to get customers to come in, we’re putting our house more at risk. We open up, and then something happens, then I’m putting my child’s life at risk. I don’t want — I don’t even want to be me right now.

michael barbaro

Yep.

I’m going to be really eager — we’re all going to be very eager to understand what decision you make. And I want you to know that we really enjoyed getting to know you and talking to you, and we’re rooting for you and for your family.

jasmine lombrage

Thank you. Thank you so very much. Thank you.

michael barbaro

Thank you, and please give our best to your husband and to the rest of your family.

jasmine lombrage

Thank you.

gaby lombrage

Bye.

jasmine lombrage

Gaby says bye.

michael barbaro

Bye, Gaby.

jasmine lombrage

Say bye.

gaby lombrage

Bye.

jasmine lombrage

OK, thank you, guys.

michael barbaro

Bye.

[music]

Hours after we spoke with Jasmine, she, her husband and their staff decided that they would reopen the restaurant for indoor dining. They then quickly changed their mind, delaying that service because of health concerns. Since then, infections have surged across Louisiana, more than doubling. As a result, the state has required that everyone over eight years old wear a mask or face covering when in public, closed all bars and capped indoor dining at 50 percent capacity. The Bullfish Bar and Kitchen, however, is still not open for indoor dining, but has continued outdoor service and takeout.

After the episode aired, “Daily” listeners began reaching out to Jasmine with offers of financial support, with prayers and with food orders.

jasmine lombrage

(CRYING) I mean, the amount of calls. I would never forget the people that called from all over the world just to let us know that they’re praying for us, they’re with us and they’re supporting us. And I’m just so happy that mankind is — just so many good people in this world. I’m just thankful.

And I pray that the numbers decrease if we do our part as human beings to protect ourselves and protect each other so we can nip this virus in the bud, really. And bad things are happening. And I have no control over that. You have no control over that. But we have control of what we do, each person individually. And just showing me and my family and others that difficult does not mean impossible. You can’t imagine how grateful and thankful I am. I’m just — oh, my god. My family, we’re so thankful.

michael barbaro

Jasmine’s daughter Gaby turned 11 a few weeks ago, an event that the family celebrated with a socially distant party using Zoom.

We’ll be right back.

Here’s what else you need to know today. The Times reports that coronavirus infections are now increasing in 41 different states and that conditions nationwide are beginning to resemble the darkest days of the pandemic back in March. On Tuesday, California and Texas set new daily records with more than 10,000 new infections each. In both Texas and Florida, more than 130 people died, a record for both. And in Oklahoma on Wednesday —

kevin stitt

It just kind of feels achy, like maybe the start of a little cold is what it feels like right now. But really, I feel fine.

michael barbaro

The governor, Kevin Stitt, said that he had tested positive for the virus, becoming the nation’s first governor to disclose an infection.

kevin stitt

So you just never know where it is. It’s a virus that’s in the United States. It’s in Oklahoma. And that’s why it’s the new normal.

michael barbaro

Stitt said he was unsure how he contracted the virus. But he has attended multiple public events, often without a mask, including at an indoor rally for President Trump held a few weeks ago in Tulsa.

That’s it for “The Daily.” I’m Michael Barbaro. See you tomorrow.

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Credit...Anne-Christine Poujoulat/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

France will make masks compulsory in all public indoor areas starting next week, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced on Thursday, as the authorities try to contain an uptick of coronavirus cases in recent days.

President Emmanuel Macron had initially suggested the rule would into effect Aug. 1, but Mr. Castex said the requirement would start earlier because Aug. 1 “sounded late.” An exact date was not announced.

Masks were already obligatory on public transportation in France, but there have been countless examples in recent days of people flouting social-distancing rules or not wearing masks inside — including during government meetings — raising concerns that the lack of precautions could trigger a wave of infections.

Britain announced similar measures this week, with face coverings compulsory in shops and supermarkets starting July 24.

Unlike Britain, Portugal or Spain, France has not instituted regional lockdowns because of new outbreaks. But the authorities have warned about a surge of cases in the northwest, and hundreds of clusters have appeared across France. At least 30,000 people have died of the coronavirus in France, the third-highest official death toll in Europe after Britain and Italy, according to a New York Times database.

On Monday, local authorities in the southern city of Nice said outdoor gatherings would be limited to 2,500 people instead of 5,000, after thousands attended a concert last weekend. The authorities had recommended concertgoers to wear masks but they were not compulsory.

U.S. Roundup

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Credit...Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

In what seems like almost a lifetime ago, America’s virus story started in January in Washington State, with the nation’s first confirmed case followed by an early outbreak that spread with alarming ferocity.

But swift lockdown measures were credited with holding down illnesses and deaths. By June, nail salons and bars had begun to reopen, even as the virus began to rage in Arizona, Florida and Texas. Washington still had relatively low case numbers, and some counties were even contemplating a return to movie theaters and museums.

Now, those plans are on hold, as the coronavirus is once again ravaging Washington.

Since the middle of June, the state has reported an average of 700 new cases per day — the highest levels since the start of the pandemic. At least 45,000 people in the state have been infected, and at least 1,400 have died.

“If these trends were to continue, we would have to prepare to go back to where we were in March,” Gov. Jay Inslee said recently.

  • As New York grapples with how to prevent another large outbreak, state officials said Thursday that restrictions would remain in place on indoor businesses in New York City. And they said bars and restaurants statewide would now be permitted to serve alcohol only to seated customers who order food, starting on Friday.

  • On Thursday, the Trump administration issued an exemption to its ban on travelers from some nations. It will now allow European students who returned home because of the outbreak to re-enter the United States in time to begin their fall classes. Students from other countries, including China and Brazil, are still blocked from re-entering the United States.

  • In Puerto Rico, where the situation has been steadily worsening after promising early signs of containment, Gov. Wanda Vázquez rolled back part of the economic opening on Thursday. Beginning on Friday restaurants will again have to operate at half capacity. Alcohol sales will be banned after 7 p.m. Bars, theaters, nightclubs, casinos, gyms and marinas will close. Beach access will be allowed only for people engaged in physical activity.

  • Target and CVS announced Thursday that they will require customers to wear face masks at all stores nationwide. The chains are the latest retailers to enforce mask mandates, on the heels of similar announcements by Walmart, Kroger and Kohl’s. “We’re joining others in taking the next step and requiring all customers to wear face coverings,” CVS tweeted on Thursday. CVS will start requiring masks on July 20 and Target’s policy will go into effect on August 1.

  • Senate Democrats on Thursday opened a new front in congressional negotiations over another pandemic aid bill to stabilize the faltering United States economy, proposing that the next round of relief dedicate $350 billion to programs that aim to narrow racial wealth gaps and help Americans of color weather the recession.

  • ​​The Commerce Department said Thursday that retail sales rose 7.5 percent in June after a record surge in May, and the Labor Department said that 1.3 million laid-off workers filed initial claims last week for state unemployment benefits, continuing a decline since the peak in late March. The unemployment number is still higher than levels ever seen before the pandemic.

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Credit...Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

As New York grapples with how to prevent another large outbreak, state officials said Thursday that restrictions would remain in place on indoor businesses in New York City. And they said bars and restaurants statewide would now be permitted to serve alcohol only to seated customers who order food, starting on Friday.

Even at bar tops, alcohol will be served only to seated customers. Purchasing takeout drinks will still be allowed if the drinks are bought with food.

In normal times, snacks like popcorn and pretzels would meet that food requirement, but in the current environment they do not, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said in an interview after the announcement. To meet the new requirement, bars and restaurants must serve something more closely resembling a meal, he said.

With cases rising across the country, Mr. Cuomo has stressed the importance of bars and restaurants — and their patrons — complying with social-distancing guidelines. The new rules are meant to reduce crowds outside bars and restaurants.

“We are still seeing issues,” Mr. Cuomo said, “not just in the bars and restaurants, but all across the country.”

The governor, citing what he said was a “significant evidence of failure to comply” with social-distancing regulations, said any bar or restaurant in New York City that received three violations would be shut down. Even without a third violation, violations that are “egregious” can result in the immediate loss of liquor license or closure, officials said.

While Mr. Cuomo said that New York City remained on track to move into Phase 4 of reopening on Monday, indoor activities outlined in that stage would remain on hold. A final decision on whether the city will move into Phase 4 will be announced by Friday afternoon, he said.

Under the state’s guidelines, regions in Phase 4 can normally reopen zoos, historical sites and museums, as well as malls with “enhanced” air-filtration systems. Outside New York City, the rest of the state has already eased those restrictions. Some museums in the city, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, had previously announced plans to wait until late August or September to reopen. When asked whether those target dates were likely, Mr. Cuomo said museums “can plan to reopen,” but added that “we’ll see what the facts say” when August comes.

At his daily briefing earlier in the day, New York City’s mayor said that outdoor businesses are expected to still be on track, but that indoor activities were giving him pause.

About 100,000 New York City students will have access to child care come fall, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday, in an attempt to address growing concerns about how the city will accommodate hundreds of thousands of public school students on the days they do not attend school in-person.

The city is planning to partially reopen schools in September, meaning that children will return to classrooms one to three days a week and learn remotely the rest of the week. But the city’s sputtering economy will not be able to recover until well over one million public school parents can return to work full-time.

Mr. de Blasio said libraries, community centers and other spaces will be used to provide tutoring and support for about a tenth of the city’s schoolchildren in September, allowing at least some parents to return to work more regularly. Child care facilities will be available for children through eighth grade, and will use the same social distancing guidelines as schools, meaning there would be about 15 children in a room at any one time.

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Credit...Tyrone Siu/Reuters

Hong Kong on Thursday reported its highest daily number of cases since the outbreak began in January, as the Chinese territory grappled with what some have called its “third wave” of infections and its most serious one yet.

Of the 67 new cases recorded on Thursday, 63 were local infections, meaning the sick had no travel history. Earlier this week, the government rolled out its most sweeping distancing measures yet, barring residents from dining at restaurants after 6 p.m. and requiring everyone to wear masks on public transportation. During the day, eateries must not be more than half full.

At a news conference on Thursday, health officials urged older adults to avoid leaving their homes as much as possible. Three patients between the ages of 89 and 95 have died from the coronavirus this week alone, with one of the largest clusters driving the current outbreak in Hong Kong linked to a nursing home.

Hong Kong saw its last record jump of 65 new infections in a single day in late March, but most had been imported cases. The city of about 7.5 million people, which has recorded a total of about 1,500 cases during the pandemic, has tallied 355 in the past two weeks.

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Credit...Alyssa Schukar for The New York Times

Senate Democrats on Thursday opened a new front in congressional negotiations over another pandemic aid bill to stabilize the faltering United States economy, proposing that the next round of relief dedicate $350 billion to programs that aim to narrow racial wealth gaps and help Americans of color weather the coronavirus recession.

The Democrats’ proposal would repurpose $200 billion provided to the Treasury Department to bail out businesses as part of the stimulus law, instead steering that money to health, child care and job-creation programs for Black and other minority communities. Their plan includes a tax credit for renters and one to provide up to $15,000 per family for down payments on homes.

House Democrats last month pushed through an expansive $3-trillion relief bill, which Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the minority leader, has said would go nowhere in his chamber based on its cost and scope. Mr. McConnell has signaled he is eyeing a much narrower bill that would provide liability protection for businesses that reopen amid the pandemic and health and education funding.

Nearly two-thirds of the money in Senate Democrats’ new proposal would come from rescinding money allocated to the Treasury Department in the stimulus law enacted in March, as part of an effort to support lending to struggling businesses through the Federal Reserve. Treasury officials have used some, but not all, of the $454 billion allocated for those programs.

The Democrats said they would not touch programs that have already been set up, like the Fed’s “Main Street” lending facility, but instead seek to immediately inject some of the money that has not yet been used into the economy.

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King Felipe VI of Spain led a tribute to the country’s coronavirus victims and health care workers on Thursday, during a ceremony at the royal palace in Madrid.CreditCredit...Pierre-Philippe Marcou/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

King Felipe VI of Spain led a tribute to the country’s coronavirus victims and health care workers on Thursday, during a ceremony at the royal palace in Madrid. At least 28,400 people in Spain have died from the virus.

In the latest sign of the pandemic’s deepening financial impact on higher education, the University of Akron’s board of trustees voted on Wednesday to lay off nearly 100 full-time professors.

The school is one of the first in the country to make deep cuts to its unionized faculty in response to the coronavirus.

Like many universities, Akron, a public research institution with about 19,000 students, was already in a tough financial position before the outbreak. Two years ago, it cut about 80 programs as part of a major academic restructuring. Since the pandemic began, it has merged 11 of its component colleges into five to save money.

Akron’s president, Gary L. Miller, said declining enrollment and state budget cuts made the faculty layoffs necessary. The cuts, which must still be ratified by the union’s members, were part of a move to eliminate 178 total positions, including non-faculty employees and contract professionals.

Katie Stoynoff, the chief negotiator of the Akron chapter of the American Association of University Professors, the union representing faculty, said the university had made poor choices about what to cut.

“It’s a very sad time for the university,” said Ms. Stoynoff, who teaches in the English department. “Rarely do full-time faculty get laid off, especially tenured faculty.”

She added, “ So we’re in a very different situation than many of the schools across the country. It’s obviously going to change the experience that students have at the University of Akron.”

Across higher education, colleges and universities have furloughed or fired thousands of employees since March, when the pandemic forced them to send students home and close campuses. The Chronicle of Higher Education, which has been tracking the cuts, reports that at least 224 institutions have reduced staff so far, affecting at least 51,793 employees — probably a vast undercount, it says.

Some institutions suffered losses of $100 million or more in the spring, as they refunded room and board payments and lost revenue streams from athletic events and dining halls. The situation is likely to worsen: A higher education trade group predicts a 15 percent drop in enrollment nationwide in the fall, leading to $23 billion in lost revenue.

On Thursday, the Trump administration issued an exemption to its ban on travelers from some nations. It will now allow European students who returned home because of the outbreak to re-enter the United States in time to begin their fall classes. Students from other countries, including China and Brazil, are still blocked from re-entering the United States.

Whether it’s a therapy dog providing an escape for children in a hospital or your own — less useful — furry friend at home, here are some ways they are helping.

Reporting was contributed by Rachel Abrams, Julian E. Barnes, Keith Bradsher, Julia Calderone, Troy Closson, Michael Cooper, Michael Corkery, Caitlin Dickerson, Manny Fernandez, Luis Ferré-Sadurní, Jeffrey Gettleman, Russell Goldman, Michael M. Grynbaum, Jason Gutierrez, John Ismay, Mike Ives, Patrick J. Lyons, Jesse McKinley, Sapna Maheshwari, Jeffrey C. Mays, Patricia Mazzei, Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio, Jesse McKinley, Sarah Mervosh, Claire Cain Miller, Jennifer Miller, Raphael Minder, Azi Paybarah, Elian Peltier, Adam Rasgon, Frances Robles, Katie Rogers, Nelson D. Schwartz, Eliza Shapiro, Mariana Simões, Karan Deep Singh, Mitch Smith, Matina Stevis-Gridneff, Jim Tankersley, Katie Thomas, Lucy Tompkins, Megan Twohey, Sui-Lee Wee Will Wright, Jin Wu, Katherine J. Wu, Sameer Yasir, Ceylan Yeginsu and Elaine Yu.