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Record cases across the U.S. as the country heads into the July 4 weekend.
The United States reported nearly 50,000 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, the fifth single-day case record in eight days, as the nation staggers toward a holiday weekend burdened by a pandemic that is only growing worse.
In the face of cases reaching disheartening new highs, health officials around the country have urged Americans to scale back their holiday plans.
Texas reached more than 8,000 new infections, surpassing its previous daily record set on Tuesday. Arizona added more than 4,700 cases, just under its single-day record set a day earlier. In Georgia, there were more than 2,300 new cases. Florida had more than 6,500.
Newsom Halts Reopening Across California
Gov. Gavin Newsom of California announced that he was closing down bars and indoor dining in 19 counties, pulling back reopening for more than 70 percent of the population.
We have specifically targeted our efforts to close indoor operations. And I want to reinforce this — indoor operations in restaurants, wineries and tasting rooms, movie theaters family entertainment, broadly defined by guidelines that we have previously put out, zoos, museums and card rooms in this state. This doesn’t mean restaurants shut down. It means that we’re trying to take activities — as many activities as we can, these mixed activities, these concentrated activities, and move them outdoors, which is a way of mitigating the spread of this virus. We’re just moving forward to close the operation of all of those bars in all of the 19 counties that I had just put forth. The state of California has not mandated the closure of beaches this weekend. But we are modifying our parking facility operations, and closing them to traffic throughout the Southern California region as well as parts of Monterey County, Santa Cruz, in through the Bay Area and up along the North Coast, all the way up to Sonoma County.
New outbreaks are erupting in the South and West, and areas that have made progress against the virus are showing signs of resurgence. Several Republican-led states that moved quickly to reopen this spring at the urging of President Trump are now reimposing some restrictions.
Arizona, which Mr. Trump visited in May and praised for its reopening plans, is now seeing record numbers of new cases, and Gov. Doug Ducey decided this week to close the state’s water parks and to order bars, gyms and movie theaters to close for 30 days. On Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence visited Arizona to discuss the crisis.
Mr. Pence told Mr. Ducey that the federal government would help the state with a request for 500 additional public health personnel by mobilizing doctors, nurses and technical personnel.
In Nebraska, state leaders suggested that holiday cookout hosts keep guest lists to make contact tracing easier if there was an outbreak. The Oregon Health Authority warned residents that “the safest choice this holiday is to celebrate at home.” And in Los Angeles County, Calif., where 10,000 new cases have been announced since last Friday, the public health department ordered beaches closed and fireworks shows canceled.
Elsewhere, the pleas were similar: Skip the party. Stay home. Don’t make a bad situation worse.
Will Europe’s economy recover faster than America’s? The debate is on.
The pandemic has turned the world into a giant laboratory of competing systems, each with its own way of fighting the virus and mitigating its economic damage. The contrast between Europe and the United States has been particularly stark.
After the devastating financial crisis of 2008 and 2009, the United States recovered much more quickly than Europe, which suffered a double-dip recession. This time, many economists say Europe may have the edge.
Much of Europe resorted to strict lockdowns that mostly beat back the virus but capsized economies. In the United States, President Trump has prioritized getting the economy moving even as infections multiply.
The main reason America did well after the financial crisis was the rapid response of the government and the flexible nature of the American economy, which was quick to fire workers but also to hire them again. Europe, with built-in social insurance, tries to keep workers from layoffs through subsidies to employers, making it harder to fire and more expensive to rehire.
But this is a different kind of collapse, a mandated shutdown in response to a pandemic, driving down both supply and demand simultaneously. And that difference creates the possibility that the European response, freezing the economy in place, might work better this time.
“It’s an important debate,’’ said Jean Pisani-Ferry, a senior economist with Bruegel in Brussels and the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington. “This isn’t a normal recession, and there’s a lot you don’t know, especially if the virus comes back.’’
Trump says ‘I’m all for masks’ as more Republicans embrace them.
Some conservatives and libertarians have made opposition to masks a political cause, but, as cases surge, a growing number of Republican governors and others in their party are trying to send a different message.
Vice President Mike Pence has abruptly started wearing and recommending masks. Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming shared a photograph on Twitter of her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, wearing a cowboy hat and pale blue surgical mask, adding the hashtag “#realmenwearmasks.”
Some Republicans have shunned masks because President Trump has declined to wear them and stressed that doing so was voluntary. “I don’t think I’m going to be doing it,” he said in April.
But on Wednesday, Mr. Trump spoke less skeptically about masks. Asked whether Americans should be required to wear them, he said he wasn’t sure they should be mandatory but noted: “I’m all for masks. I think masks are good. I would wear one if I were in a group of people and I was close.”
In an interview with Fox Business Network, Mr. Trump said he had worn a mask before, but that it was usually not necessary, because he and anyone allowed near him were regularly tested. “But if I were in a tight situation with people, I would, absolutely,” he said.
Mr. Trump added that he “sort of liked” the way he looked in a mask. “It was a dark black mask,” he said, “and I thought it looked OK. I looked like the Lone Ranger.”
Mr. Trump also said that he believed the virus was “going to sort of just disappear,” even as cases rise rapidly across the nation.
On Monday, Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia posted a selfie wearing a mask decorated with the University of Georgia’s bulldog mascot. “Wear your mask, Georgia — and go Dawgs!” he wrote. Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who regularly wears a mask in public, said in Washington this week that there must be “no stigma” about wearing masks.
The new entreaties follow months of misinformation, debate and confusion about the question of wearing a mask. Early in the pandemic, government officials instructed Americans not to buy or wear masks. In April, they revised that guidance, advising that cloth face coverings were recommended.
Most of the public does not appear to have an aversion to masks. In a New York Times/Siena College poll published last week, 54 percent of people said they always wear a mask when they expect to be in proximity to other people, while another 22 percent said they usually wear a mask.
Elsewhere in the United States:
New U.S. jobs data is expected to show gains for June, but worries continue.
Thursday will bring a double dose of data about the pandemic’s impact on American jobs. But the numbers, expected to be positive, may be arriving just as new clouds are gathering.
The Labor Department’s employment report for June, to be released at 8:30 a.m. Eastern, is expected to show that the economy added three million jobs last month, according to an average of forecasts compiled by the data provider FactSet.
That would be the second-straight monthly gain after a catastrophic loss of more than 20 million jobs in April, when the pandemic halted a large swath of economic activity.
But the survey was compiled in mid-June, before coronavirus cases began to surge in Arizona, Florida and several other states. More timely data that the Labor Department will also release on Thursday morning is expected to show that 1.3 million workers filed new claims for state unemployment benefits last week, according to FactSet.
Economists fear that layoffs could accelerate now that California, Texas and other states have begun ordering some businesses to again shut their doors.
“The virus drives the economics,” said Betsey Stevenson, a member of the Council of Economic Advisers under former President Barack Obama who is now at the University of Michigan. If cases continue to rise as health officials warn, she said, “we’re not going to have people going back to work. In fact, we’re going to see more people staying home.”
All eyes are on bars as the virus surges and Americans go drinking.
When the bars in Michigan reopened in June, Tony Hild forgot about face masks, social distancing and caution and headed out to Harper’s, a popular spot in the college town of East Lansing. There was a line out the door. Inside were 200 people dancing, drinking and shouting over the music.
“It was just so crowded, and I’m like, ‘This is going against everything I’m told not to do,’” Mr. Hild, 23, a college student, said. “But I didn’t think I was going to get it.”
As people eager for a night out flood back into public after months of confinement, public health experts say that college-town bars, nightclubs and corner taverns are becoming dangerous new hot spots for the coronavirus, seeding infections in thousands of mostly young adults and adding to surging cases nationwide.
Louisiana health officials tied 100 coronavirus cases to bars in Baton Rouge. Minnesota has traced 328 recent cases to bars across the state.
And in East Lansing, home to Michigan State University, more than 100 cases have been linked to Harper’s Restaurant and Brew Pub, Mr. Hild included. He came down with a sore throat, chest pains and fatigue, and by then, more than a week later, he had already visited four other restaurants.
“I definitely regret doing it,” he said.
Public health experts say that the long nights, lack of inhibitions and shoulder-to-shoulder confines inside so many bars — a source of community and relaxation in normal times — now make them ideal breeding grounds for the coronavirus.
Reporting was contributed by Livia Albeck-Ripka, Julie Bosman, Ben Casselman, Steven Erlanger, Richard Fausset, Luis Ferré-Sadurní, Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura, Thomas Fuller, Jenny Gross, Jack Healy, Jesse McKinley, Nelson D. Schwartz, Dionne Searcey, Ed Shanahan, Mitch Smith, Sabrina Tavernise and Caryn A. Wilson.