Coronavirus News: Live Updates and Analysis


Here’s what you need to know:

Deadly diseases could surge after disruptions to vaccination programs.

Credit…Arshad Arbab/EPA, via Shutterstock

The widespread interruption of routine immunization programs around the world during the coronavirus pandemic is putting 80 million children under 1 year old at risk of contracting deadly, vaccine-preventable diseases, according to a report Friday by the World Health Organization, UNICEF and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

The groups surveyed 129 poor and middle-income countries and found that 68 had some degree of disruption of vaccine services through clinics and through large inoculation campaigns.

Many public health experts say they are worried that deaths from diseases including cholera, rotavirus and diphtheria could far outstrip those from Covid-19 itself.

The problem of slipping vaccine rates is not limited to developing countries. This week, the C.D.C. reported that coverage rates among Michigan infants had dropped below 50 percent for all childhood immunizations. New York City announced that during a six-week period of pandemic lockdown, the number of vaccine doses administered to children dropped 63 percent, compared with the same period last year.

International public health experts, including the W.H.O., had initially recommended that mass vaccine programs in particular be halted while the pandemic raged to protect against further spread occasioned by long lines of children waiting for shots.

But officials are now moving toward a cautious risk-benefit analysis.

Summer camps and youth athletics will be allowed in Florida, without state restrictions.

Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, a Republican, said on Friday that he was lifting all prohibitions on youth activities in the state, effective immediately. Local governments could choose to keep some restrictions.

The state Department of Health will publish answers to frequently asked questions, but “we’re not really going to be instituting a lot of rules, or really any rules,” he said. “We trust parents to be able to make decisions.”

Mr. DeSantis acknowledged that children have died of complications related to Covid-19. And a handful of children in Florida have been hospitalized with an inflammatory disease linked to the virus. (The ailment has now been reported in at least 161 children in New York; three have died there. Hundreds of other children across the United States and in Europe have also been sickened with the illness.)

Dr. Bonnie White, a pediatrician who treats the governor’s three young children, said at the news conference that parents should also let their children play with other children, assuming none of them have any symptoms. She did urge parents to vaccinate their children, especially against the measles.

The governor noted that the state never closed day care centers, in spite of C.D.C. recommendations, and did not see major problems stemming from those facilities.

Mayor Lenny Curry of Jacksonville, who joined him on Friday, said parents have approached him asking for their children’s activities to be renewed.

Most of Florida began gradually reopening on May 4, with the exception of populous South Florida, where the virus has hit hardest. But even there, life has slowly resumed. Beaches in Miami-Dade County will reopen on June 1, its mayor announced on Friday. Miami-Dade and neighboring Broward County had been the last to allow beachgoers back.

The virus still does not spread easily on surfaces, the C.D.C. says.

Guidelines from the C.D.C. making the rounds online this week are clarifying what we know about the spread of the virus.

The virus does not spread easily via contaminated surfaces, according to the agency. For those who were worried about wiping down grocery bags or disinfecting mailed packages, the news headlines highlighting this guidance in recent days might have brought some relief.

But this information is not new; the agency has been using similar language for months. If anything, the headlines have pulled into sharper focus what we already know. The virus is thought to spread mainly from one person to another, typically through droplets when an infected person sneezes, coughs or talks at close range — even if that person is not showing symptoms.

The C.D.C.’s website also says that “touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes” is a possible way for people to become infected. But those are “not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.”

According to cached versions of the website that are available online, this language has remained largely unchanged since at least late March. But it appears to have drawn more attention after it was placed under a new subheading on May 11, when information about the difficulty of catching the virus from animals was added.

N.Y.C.’s suburbs could start to reopen next week, Cuomo said.

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Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York said that Long Island and the Mid-Hudson regions could begin opening next week if virus-related deaths continued to decline.CreditCredit…Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Long Island and the suburban counties north of New York City could begin reopening next week if the number of virus-related deaths keep declining and local officials set up strong contract-tracing programs, Mr. Cuomo said on Friday.

As of Friday, only New York City and the surrounding areas have yet to meet the state’s seven reopening metrics. Both Mr. Cuomo and Mr. Bill de Blasio said New York City, which has met four of the state’s criteria, was not likely to begin reopening until June.

New York City still needs to have at least 30 percent of its hospital beds and at least 30 percent of its intensive-care-unit beds available. As of Friday morning, it had 27 percent of hospital beds and 26 percent of its I.C.U. beds available.

Both city and state officials have said that their metrics were likely to go hand in hand, and that they would coordinate in their decisions on reopening, though the governor on Friday suggested that the state’s guidelines took precedence.

This is how to fix your work-from-home tech.

The last thing you need right now is a spotty Wi-Fi signal interrupting your workday. Good news! There are some simple steps you can take to improve that. And, while you’re at it, take a look at the rest of your computer setup and see what may be slowing you down. A little tweak can make working from home less miserable.

China abandons a growth target for the year and more from our international correspondents.

Parting with years of precedent, China on Friday abandoned an annual growth target for 2020, in an acknowledgment that restarting its economy after the outbreak will be a slow and difficult process. In his annual report to lawmakers meeting in Beijing, Premier Li Keqiang said that the country had made major achievements in its response to the epidemic and that economic development was a top priority. But while he set goals to limit inflation and unemployment, he did not announce a target for economic growth for the year.

Reporting was contributed by Steve Eder, Ellen Gabler, Sarah Kliff, Heather Murphy, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Sheila Kaplan, Denise Grady, Alan Blinder, Michael Cooper, Eileen Sullivan, Christopher Flavelle, Apoorva Mandavilli, Mike Baker, Karen Barrow, Patricia Mazzei, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Kassie Bracken, Niraj Chokshi, Michael Gold, Dana Rubinstein, Keith Bradsher, Mohammed Hadi, Chris Buckley, Sarah Mervosh, Julie Bosman, Jan Hoffman, Annie Karni, Corey Kilgannon, Alan Rappeport, Joseph Goldstein, Jesse McKinley, Emily Rhyne, Biance Giaever, Robin Pogrebin, Marc Santora, Elizabeth Dias, Jeanna Smialek, Farah Stockman, Noah Weiland, Maggie Haberman and Abby Goodnough.


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