The Coronavirus Outbreak

Key developments you may have missed.

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Frequently Asked Questions

The stimulus bills enacted in March offer help for the millions of American small businesses. Those eligible for aid are businesses and nonprofit organizations with fewer than 500 workers, including sole proprietorships, independent contractors and freelancers. Some larger companies in some industries are also eligible. The help being offered, which is being managed by the Small Business Administration, includes the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. But lots of folks have not yet seen payouts. Even those who have received help are confused: The rules are draconian, and some are stuck sitting on money they don’t know how to use. Many small-business owners are getting less than they expected or not hearing anything at all.

Employers have to provide a safe workplace with policies that protect everyone equally. And if one of your co-workers tests positive for the coronavirus, the C.D.C. has said that employers should tell their employees -- without giving you the sick employee’s name -- that they may have been exposed to the virus.

It could be a good idea, because mortgage rates have never been lower. Refinancing requests have pushed mortgage applications to some of the highest levels since 2008, so be prepared to get in line. But defaults are also up, so if you’re thinking about buying a home, be aware that some lenders have tightened their standards.

It is unlikely that many schools will return to a normal schedule this fall, requiring the grind of online learning, makeshift child care and stunted workdays to continue. California’s two largest public school districts — Los Angeles and San Diego — said on July 13, that instruction will be remote-only in the fall, citing concerns that surging coronavirus infections in their areas pose too dire a risk for students and teachers. Together, the two districts enroll some 825,000 students. They are the largest in the country so far to abandon plans for even a partial physical return to classrooms when they reopen in August. For other districts, the solution won’t be an all-or-nothing approach. Many systems, including the nation’s largest, New York City, are devising hybrid plans that involve spending some days in classrooms and other days online. There’s no national policy on this yet, so check with your municipal school system regularly to see what is happening in your community.

The coronavirus can stay aloft for hours in tiny droplets in stagnant air, infecting people as they inhale, mounting scientific evidence suggests. This risk is highest in crowded indoor spaces with poor ventilation, and may help explain super-spreading events reported in meatpacking plants, churches and restaurants. It’s unclear how often the virus is spread via these tiny droplets, or aerosols, compared with larger droplets that are expelled when a sick person coughs or sneezes, or transmitted through contact with contaminated surfaces, said Linsey Marr, an aerosol expert at Virginia Tech. Aerosols are released even when a person without symptoms exhales, talks or sings, according to Dr. Marr and more than 200 other experts, who have outlined the evidence in an open letter to the World Health Organization.

Highlights

  1. PhotoPeople waiting in line to cross the border from Mexicali, Mexico, to Calexico, Calif. In particular, the draft could affect the border with Mexico, where many American citizens and legal residents cross back and forth frequently.
    CreditGregory Bull/Associated Press

    Trump Considers Banning Re-entry by Citizens Who May Have Coronavirus

    Under the proposal, the government could block a citizen or legal resident’s entry if an official “reasonably believes” the person had been exposed to or was infected with the communicable disease.

    By Michael D. Shear and

    1. Photo
      CreditIllustration by John Karborn

      Feature

      How Covid Sends Some Bodies to War With Themselves

      Many Covid-19 patients may be dying from their immune response to the virus, not from the virus itself. Can science figure out how to save them?

      By

    2. Photo
      Credit

      What Happens to Viral Particles on the Subway

      Many New Yorkers are avoiding the subway, fearful of jostling with strangers in crowded cars. Masks and social distancing are essential, but good air flow is also key to reducing the risk of exposure to the coronavirus.

      By Mika Gröndahl, Christina Goldbaum and

Reopening

  1. Photo
    CreditKarsten Moran for The New York Times

    Are More Car-Free Streets in N.Y.C.’s Future?

    The tension between "those who see cars as evil and those who see cars as essential" intensifies as social distancing puts a premium on space.

    By

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