Brazil’s outbreak now has the world’s second-highest toll. Its president is pushing unproven remedies.
Brazil’s coronavirus outbreak passed a grim landmark on Saturday, surpassing Britain to record the second-highest death toll in the world after the United States’, according to a New York Times tally.
As of Saturday morning, Brazil had acknowledged 41,828 virus deaths. The figure for the United States was 114,752, and for Britain 41,841. Brazil’s daily death toll is now the highest in the world, bucking the downward trend that is allowing many other major economies to reopen.
Experts point to President Jair Bolsonaro’s rejection of the emerging scientific consensus on how to fight the pandemic — including his promotion of unproven remedies such as the drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine — as one of the factors that helped tilt the country into its current health crisis.
Mr. Bolsonaro has sabotaged quarantine measures adopted by governors, encouraged mass rallies and repeatedly dismissed the danger of the virus. He has asserted that the virus was a “measly cold” and that people with “athletic backgrounds,” like himself, were impervious to serious complications.
The graduating cadets at the United States Military Academy at West Point have lived in quarantine for the past two weeks, confined to their dorms, wearing masks and watching Zoom conferences on leadership as they wait for President Trump to speak at their commencement on Saturday.
The 1,107 West Point cadets have been divided into four groups, with strict orders not to mingle outside of their cohort. They eat in shifts in the dining hall, with food placed on long tables by kitchen staff who quickly leave.
Sent home in March because of the coronavirus, the cadets were ordered back to campus after President Trump abruptly announced that he wanted to go through with a planned commencement address. The address comes during a breakdown in relations between the president and top military leaders, who have vehemently objected to Mr. Trump’s threats to use active-duty troops to quell largely peaceful protests against police brutality.
The cadets were tested for the virus when they arrived on campus, with 15 initially testing positive but showing no symptoms, according to Lt. Col. Christopher Ophardt, a West Point spokesman. The 15 did not transmit the virus to others and are now virus-free, Colonel Ophardt said, and will graduate with the others in their class.
No friends or family will be permitted to attend and cadets will be required to wear masks as they march in and take their seats, about six feet apart. Once seated, they will be allowed to unmask. Mr. Trump, who has never worn a mask in public, is to speak at 11 a.m.
Protests against the president are expected in the nearby community.
The nation’s most populous state, California, hit a new daily high last week, when it recorded 3,593 new cases, and it nearly matched that record this week.
The rise in cases helps explain why the nation continues to record more than 20,000 new cases a day even though some of the original hot spots, including New York, have reported dramatic declines.
While some officials in states seeing increases attribute the rise to increased testing, and the number of cases per capita in Texas and Florida remains low, some health experts see worrying signs that the virus is continuing to make inroads.
“Whenever you loosen mitigation, you can expect you’ll see new infections, I think it would be unrealistic to think that you won’t,” Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said in an interview on ABC News’s “Powerhouse Politics” podcast. “The critical issue is how do you prevent those new infections that you see from all of a sudden emerging into something that is a spike, and that’s the thing that we hope we will be able to contain.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released forecasts on Friday suggesting that the United States was likely to reach 124,000 to 140,000 Covid-19 deaths by July 4.
The agency said that its forecasts suggested that more virus-related deaths were likely over the next four weeks in Arizona, Arkansas, Hawaii, North Carolina, Utah and Vermont than those states reported over the past four weeks.
The agency also released new guidance about the risks of holding events, even those attended by only a small number of people.
Dr. Fauci, who has warned about the risks associated with the recent protests in recent days, was also asked during his podcast interview what he thought about Mr. Trump’s plan to begin holding large rallies again.
“I stick by what I say,” he said. “The best way that you can avoid either acquiring or transmitting infection is to avoid crowded places, to wear a mask whenever you’re outside, and if you can do both — avoid the congregation of people and do the mask, that’s great.”
Here is a look at other key developments around the country:
Asbury Park, N.J., halted a move to allow some indoor restaurant dining that was scheduled to start on Monday after the state of New Jersey took the unusual step on Friday of suing to block the proposals.
China’s capital shuts a produce market in a ‘wartime’ effort to control a virus cluster.
The Beijing authorities shut down a major seafood and produce market and locked down several residential complexes on Saturday after 53 people tested positive for the coronavirus in the city, renewing fears that China’s grip on the pandemic is not yet secure.
Nearly everyone who tested positive had worked or shopped at the Xinfadi market, a wholesale market on the city’s south side that sells seafood, fruit and vegetables, according to the Beijing health commission.
More than 10,000 people work at the market, which supplies 90 percent of Beijing’s fruits and vegetables, according to the state media. The virus was reportedly detected on cutting boards for imported salmon there.
The developments also prompted the authorities to partly or completely close five other Beijing markets, to lock down 11 nearby residential communities and nine schools, and to tighten controls on movement in and out of the city. State media outlets described the effort as a “wartime mechanism.”
China was the site of the first major coronavirus outbreak — with many of the first reported cases tied to a seafood market in the central city of Wuhan. But as the pandemic has ravaged the rest of the world, China’s government has loudly promoted its apparent success in controlling the virus’s spread. Before the new cluster of cases, Beijing had not reported any new locally transmitted cases for eight weeks.
Here are some other developments around the world:
In Britain, the police urged people to stay away from demonstrations in London on Saturday, and imposed restrictions on both a Black Lives Matter protest and a planned right-wing counterdemonstration.
At least 58 people on the staff of President Alejandro Giammattei of Guatemala have tested positive for the virus, including members of his security detail and domestic workers at the presidential compound. The president said he had tested negative.
Immigration officials in Canada said the government may allow caregivers who are seeking asylum to remain in the country permanently because of their outsized contributions to fighting the pandemic.
Prosecutors questioned Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte of Italy on Friday over his delay in locking down two towns in the Lombardy region, where the virus devastated the health care system. No one has been charged with a crime and the lead prosecutor, Maria Cristina Rota, said Mr. Conte and other officials were interviewed as witnesses, not suspects.
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Cold beer flowed, soul music played and regulars lined the redwood bar to order tequila shots and tater tots. No one wore masks, many hugged, and the staff passed a joint out front of The Hatch, a cozy locals’ bar in downtown Oakland. On the night before lockdown, the bar opened its doors to bring people together for one last night of drinks — and pay.
“We’re six years running, so hopefully something like this doesn’t wipe us out,” Robin Easterbrook, The Hatch’s tattooed manager, said from behind the bar that night. “It’s frustrating, because I don’t have all the answers to give to our team, other than my word that we’re going to do our best to make sure that you get taken care of.”
Behind a curtain, Santos, a 56-year-old Guatemalan immigrant, pressed burgers to the grill. He and his six children in the Bay Area had all received word that day, March 16, that they no longer had jobs. He planned to return to the three-bedroom house on the outskirts of Oakland that he shared with 11 family members to shelter in place. “I want to respect the law,” he said in Spanish. “But my worry is my rent, food.”
Reporting and research was contributed by Ernesto Londoño, Mariana Simões, Eric Schmitt, Michael D. Shear, Vivian Wang, Elaine Yu, Qiqing Lin, Mike Isaac, Peter Robins and Jack Nicas.