The Coronavirus Outbreak

Key developments you may have missed.

Updated weekday evenings

  • In a raw, empathetic and optimistic address to Americans, President-elect Joe Biden urged them to “hang on” as they faced a long, hard winter and with coronavirus cases spiking across the country.
  • The U.S. added more than one million cases in each of the past two weeks for the first time.
  • Health officials are urging Americans to skip “Drinksgiving.”

Live Updates

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Kingston, Canada
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Rio de Janeiro
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Tacoma, Wash.
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Las Cruces, N.M.
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Los Angeles
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Mosul, Iraq
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Frequently Asked Questions

Outdoor gatherings lower risk because wind disperses viral droplets, and sunlight can kill some of the virus. Open spaces prevent the virus from building up in concentrated amounts and being inhaled, which can happen when infected people exhale in a confined space for long stretches of time, said Dr. Julian W. Tang, a virologist at the University of Leicester.

In the beginning, the coronavirus seemed like it was primarily a respiratory illness — many patients had fever and chills, were weak and tired, and coughed a lot, though some people don’t show many symptoms at all. Those who seemed sickest had pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome and received supplemental oxygen. By now, doctors have identified many more symptoms and syndromes. In April, the C.D.C. added to the list of early signs sore throat, fever, chills and muscle aches. Gastrointestinal upset, such as diarrhea and nausea, has also been observed. Another telltale sign of infection may be a sudden, profound diminution of one’s sense of smell and taste. Teenagers and young adults in some cases have developed painful red and purple lesions on their fingers and toes — nicknamed “Covid toe” — but few other serious symptoms.

The coronavirus spreads primarily through droplets from your mouth and nose, especially when you cough or sneeze. The C.D.C., one of the organizations using that measure, bases its recommendation of six feet on the idea that most large droplets that people expel when they cough or sneeze will fall to the ground within six feet. But six feet has never been a magic number that guarantees complete protection. Sneezes, for instance, can launch droplets a lot farther than six feet, according to a recent study. It's a rule of thumb: You should be safest standing six feet apart outside, especially when it's windy. But keep a mask on at all times, even when you think you’re far enough apart.

As of right now, that seems likely, for at least several months. There have been frightening accounts of people suffering what seems to be a second bout of Covid-19. But experts say these patients may have a drawn-out course of infection, with the virus taking a slow toll weeks to months after initial exposure. People infected with the coronavirus typically produce immune molecules called antibodies, which are protective proteins made in response to an infection. These antibodies may last in the body only two to three months, which may seem worrisome, but that’s perfectly normal after an acute infection subsides, said Dr. Michael Mina, an immunologist at Harvard University. It may be possible to get the coronavirus again, but it’s highly unlikely that it would be possible in a short window of time from initial infection or make people sicker the second time.

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.

Maps and Trackers

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  5. PhotoWashington D.C. and 11 states meet the target.


  1. PhotoThe 115,000 students enrolled in the public schools in Baltimore County, Md., are learning remotely because of the coronavirus pandemic.
    CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times
  2. PhotoStudents outside of their Brooklyn public school on Nov. 16, shortly before Mayor Bill de Blasio shut all city classrooms. 
    CreditSarah Blesener for The New York Times
  3. PhotoPaige Myers, 5, arriving at her first day of in-person kindergarten since the pandemic began.
    CreditRosem Morton for The New York Times
  4. PhotoA school in Scarborough, an inner suburb of Toronto, in September. Despite Toronto’s new coronavirus restrictions, classes have remained open.
    CreditCarlos Osorio/Reuters
  5. PhotoLea Caldwell, a senior at Mercy High School in suburban Detroit. She has applied to three colleges near home while working part time.
    CreditElaine Cromie for The New York Times


  1. PhotoA closed ski lift on Thursday at the Passo Tonale resort in the Dolomites region of Italy.
    CreditGuglielmo Mangiapane/Reuters
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    CreditVictor J. Blue for The New York Times
  4. PhotoIn Colorado, signs related to stopping the spread of the coronavirus were in place for the Keystone Resort’s opening days.
    CreditJamie Schwaberow for The New York Times
  5. PhotoHeathrow Airport in London in April. Virgin Atlantic is operating under a private rescue deal.
    CreditTom Jamieson for The New York Times


  1. PhotoA coronavirus testing site in Philadelphia. U.S. transmissions have been rising steadily.
    CreditKriston Jae Bethel for The New York Times
  2. PhotoDray Farley, 21, became interested in saving at 15.
    CreditHeather Ainsworth for The New York Times
  3. PhotoIn Orchard Park, N.Y., near Buffalo, demonstrators on Monday protested business shutdowns ordered by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.
    CreditLibby March for The New York Times
  4. PhotoCovid-19 is still first and foremost on corporate leaders’ minds.
    CreditRobyn Beck/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
  5. PhotoAs Treasury secretary, Janet L. Yellen will be the Biden administration’s chief economic diplomat.
    CreditLexey Swall for The New York Times

Lives We've Lost

More in Lives We've Lost ›
  1. PhotoHonestie Hodges, in a recent photo.
    Creditvia Hodges family
  2. PhotoIan Finkel picked up the xylophone in his teenage years because, he said, “I thought it would get me girls.”
    CreditJulie Stainer
  3. PhotoEric Hall in London in 1997. “He took showbiz into football and looked at players as stars,” his nephew said.
    CreditAllsport U
  4. PhotoA man of many careers, Gianni Bernardinello settled down as a baker. A sign outside his shop over free baked goods read, “To give a hand to those in need, help yourself and think of others too.”
    Creditvia Bernardinello family
  5. PhotoThe director Nelly Kaplan in 1969. She drew acclaim that year for “A Very Curious Girl,” her first feature film.
    CreditCythere/Kobal, via Shutterstock