• Thu. Nov 26th, 2020

U.N.C. at Chapel Hill Shifts to Remote Learning After a Covid-19 Outbreak

Here’s what you need to know:

ImageStudents waiting outside Woollen Gym on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus on Monday. The school announced it would shift to remote learning for all undergraduate classes starting Wednesday.
Credit…Julia Wall/The News & Observer, via Associated Press

As teachers and students look ahead to the start of the school year, officials around the world continued this week to roll out and refine strategies to address the challenges and fears brought on by the pandemic.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill announced it would shift to remote learning for all undergraduate classes starting Wednesday.

The university, with 30,000 students, was one of the largest in the country to open its campus during the pandemic. Officials said 177 students had been isolated after testing as of Monday, and another 349 students were in quarantine because of possible exposure.

“We have not taken this decision lightly,” the school’s chancellor, Kevin M. Guskiewicz, and provost, Robert A. Blouin, wrote in an email announcing the change, which they said was made after consultation with local and state health experts.

The university said it would help students leave campus housing without financial penalty. It was not immediately clear how the university’s decision would affect its athletic programs, though North Carolina said that student-athletes could remain in their dormitories.

The university’s athletic department said in a statement that it still expected its students would be able to play fall sports, but that it would “continue to evaluate the situation.” The school is a member of the elite Atlantic Coast Conference, which has scheduled its football season to open in September. But the juxtaposition of playing sports while the campus is broadly closed to ordinary academic life — U.N.C. is scheduled to host a game in Chapel Hill on Sept. 12 — could prove complicated.

In July, county health officials had urged the university to consider virtual classes for at least the first five weeks of the fall semester. And earlier this month, dozens of students protested plans to reopen by staging a “die-in” on campus.

A similar protest erupted on Monday at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, the first day of fall classes. The school had said that majority of courses would have some in-person attendance this fall, but dozens of students and faculty members staged a “die-in” on campus to push for more options for staff and students to teach or learn remotely.

Brett Tregoning, a graduate student in the School of Physics who helped organize the demonstrators, said they had staged a die-in “to symbolize the death that is going to happen because of the administration’s reckless policies that prioritize the bottom line over our lives.”

Some of the concerns about reopening college campuses have been directed at students who have gathered at bars or house parties. Video footage appearing to show University of North Georgia students attending a crowded off-campus party garnered online attention over the weekend. A spokesperson at the Dahlonega, Ga., school said that officials were “disappointed” that mostly maskless students at the party failed to heed social distancing guidelines.

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Credit…Cheney Orr/Reuters

Primary and secondary schools have struggled with reopening in recent weeks, with some forging ahead with in-person classes, only to reverse course after protests or outbreaks.

In Arizona, where the virus surged earlier this summer, many students started school on Monday. But classes in the J.O. Combs Unified School District, about an hour outside of Phoenix, were canceled through Wednesday after a significant number of teachers and staff members called in sick to protest in-person classes, and it was unclear when and how the school year might start there.

Schools in the district had planned to open with a mix of virtual and in-person instruction. But the local teachers’ association wants the district to stick with virtual instruction until it can meet Arizona’s benchmarks for reopening schools. Despite a steady decrease in statewide cases over the last few weeks, none of the state’s districts have met those metrics yet. But many have decided to open anyway.

“Because there is not a comprehensive or coherent plan at the state or national level for how to reopen schools, we opened up schools early,” said Greg Wyman, the superintendent of the J.O. Combs district. “So we may have everybody’s eyeballs on us right now, but this will be an issue that will go across the entire country.”

In a statement Monday night, the district said officials would meet Wednesday to try to find a solution; classrooms will be closed at least until then.

In Los Angeles, public schools on Monday began a sweeping program to test hundreds of thousands of students and teachers even though, for the time being, the Los Angeles Unified School District will begin school online. The testing plan, which will be rolled out over the next few months, will seek to administer tests to nearly 700,000 students and 75,000 employees as the district, the nation’s second-largest, awaits permission from public health authorities to resume in-person instruction, said Austin Beutner, the district’s superintendent.

In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio has been hoping to reopen the nation’s largest school system on a part-time basis for the city’s 1.1 million schoolchildren this fall — a feat no other big-city mayor is currently even attempting. But Mr. de Blasio is facing mounting pressure from the city’s teachers, principals and even members of his own administration to delay the start of in-person instruction by at least a few weeks to give educators more time to prepare.

Other schools around the country have also struggled with reopening in recent weeks.

Near Oklahoma City, an infected student at Westmoore High School attended class last week before his quarantine period was over, NBC News reported, saying the child’s parents told the school that they had “miscalculated” the timing. Twenty-two students who came in contact with that student or another at the school who tested positive have been quarantined.

In Cherokee County, Georgia, which by the middle of last week had nearly 1,200 students and educational staff ordered to quarantine, a third high school closed to in-person learning this week after 500 of its students were quarantined and 25 tested positive for the virus.

Credit…Democratic National Convention, via Associated Press

Kristin Urquiza, whose father died this summer in Arizona, opened her brief but impassioned speech on Monday night at the Democratic National Convention bluntly: “I’m one of the many who have lost a loved one to Covid,” she said. “My dad, Mark Anthony Urquiza, should be here today, but he isn’t.”

The reason, she asserted, was President Trump.

“My dad was a healthy 65-year-old,” she said. “His only pre-existing condition was trusting Donald Trump — and for that he paid with his life.”

Speaking as pictures of her father flashed across the screen, Ms. Urquiza said he had “died alone, in the I.C.U., with a nurse holding his hand.”

Ms. Urquiza garnered attention last month after she wrote an obituary for The Arizona Republic in which she laid blame for her father’s death at the feet of state and federal leaders and their handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

She was not the only speaker who assailed Mr. Trump at the virtual convention. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York, which was savaged by the virus this spring, accused the White House on Monday of trying to “ignore” the crisis and then fumbling the response by “trying to politicize it.”

Video

transcript

Democrats Commemorate Lives Lost to Covid-19

An advertisement at the Democratic National Convention was dedicated to the more than 160,000 lives lost to the coronavirus in the United States.

[John Prine, 1946–2020, “I Remember Everything”] ♫ I’ve been down this road before. I remember every tree. Every single blade of grass holds a special place for me. And I remember every town and every hotel room, every song I ever sang on a guitar out of tune. And I remember every night. Your ocean eyes of blue. How I miss you in the morning light like roses miss the dew. ♫

Video player loading
An advertisement at the Democratic National Convention was dedicated to the more than 160,000 lives lost to the coronavirus in the United States.CreditCredit…Democratic National Committee

Mr. Cuomo, whose initial actions during the pandemic were criticized, accused Mr. Trump of “learning absolutely nothing” from the outbreak, and said that Democrats wore masks “because we are smart.”

Echoing the rhetoric of other Democrats, including former President Barack Obama, Mr. Cuomo likened the intense partisanship of the Trump era to a disease, and compared the impact of Mr. Trump’s presidency to a weakening of the immune system in the national body politic.

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Updated 2020-08-19T15:19:41.666Z

“Americans learned a critical lesson: how vulnerable we are when we are divided,” he said. “And how many lives can be lost when our government is incompetent.”

“Donald Trump didn’t create the initial division,” he added. “The division created Trump. He only made it worse.”

Mr. Cuomo and Ms. Urquiza appeared on the first night of a four-day conclave — the most unorthodox presidential nominating convention in recent history. The two-hour event, truncated and conducted virtually because of the coronavirus, was a vivid illustration of how widespread opposition to Mr. Trump and the still-raging pandemic have upended the country’s politics.

Democrats abandoned plans to gather in Milwaukee and built their program entirely online, in an effort to show more responsible leadership than Mr. Trump has during a national health emergency.

But it was far from clear on Monday night whether the alternative to a traditional convention would generate the kind of political energy of past gatherings. Absent from the evening were the basic staples of convention atmospherics: live applause, laughter, chanting and jeering.

Credit…Charles Platiau/Reuters

Faced with a recent resurgence of coronavirus cases, officials in France have made mask-wearing mandatory in widening areas of Paris and other cities across the country, pleading with people not to let down their guard and jeopardize the hard-won gains made against the virus during a two-month lockdown this spring.

The signs of a new wave of infection emerged over the summer as people began resuming much of their pre-coronavirus lives, traveling across France and socializing in cafes, restaurants and parks. Many, especially the young, have visibly relaxed their vigilance.

In recent days, France has recorded about 3,000 new infections every day, roughly double the figure at the beginning of the month, and the authorities are investigating an increasing number of clusters.

Thirty percent of the new infections are in young adults, ages 15 to 44, according to a recent report. Since they are less likely to develop serious forms of the illness, deaths and the number of patients in intensive care remain at a fraction of what they were at the height of the pandemic. Still, officials are not taking any chances.

“The indicators are bad, the signals are worrying, and the situation is deteriorating,” Jérôme Salomon, the French health ministry director, told the radio station France Inter last week. “The fate of the epidemic is in our hands.”

France suffered 30,400 deaths from the virus — one of the world’s worst tolls — and experienced an economically devastating lockdown from mid-March to mid-May. Thanks to the lockdown, however, France succeeded in stopping the spread of the virus and lifted most restrictions at the start of summer.

The course of the pandemic in Europe has followed a somewhat similar trend, with Spain also reporting new local clusters. But important disparities exist among countries. In the past week, as France reported 20,000 new cases, Italy reported 7,000, and Britain 3,000, according to data collected by The New York Times.

U.S. ROUNDUP

Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

Louis DeJoy, the postmaster general, has agreed to testify before a key House panel next week, as Democrats step up their scrutiny of sweeping changes at the United States Postal Service.

Mr. DeJoy will voluntarily appear before the House Oversight Committee next Monday as part of the panel’s continuing investigation into whether the cost-cutting changes he has championed at the agency could impair the rights of voters to cast their ballots by mail in the November election.

Earlier in the day, Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, pushed back on concerns that the agency would not be able to handle as many as 80 million ballots cast by Americans by mail in the November election. He told reporters in his home state on Monday that “the Postal Service is going to be just fine.”

“We’re going to make sure that the ability to function going into the election is not adversely affected,” Mr. McConnell said at a news conference in Horse Cave, Ky.

Mr. McConnell’s comments come a day after Speaker Nancy Pelosi, of California, called the House back from its annual summer recess nearly a month early so that the chamber could vote on legislation to block changes at the Postal Service.

House Democrats are preparing for a Saturday vote on legislation to reverse cost-cutting measures at the Postal Service and pump $25 billion in emergency funding into the ailing agency.

Mr. Trump has repeatedly derided voting by mail as vulnerable to fraud, without evidence, and the issue had become a prominent sticking point in negotiations over the next round of virus relief.

Mail-in voters from California, Pennsylvania, Illinois, New Jersey, Wisconsin and New York filed a lawsuit Monday against Mr. Trump and Mr. DeJoy seeking to block cuts to the Postal Service ahead of the November election. The suit, filed in Federal District Court in Manhattan, asks the court to declare that Mr. Trump and Mr. DeJoy have violated voters’ rights by cutting the Postal Service in an effort to stymie mail-in voting.

Across the country, election officials are rethinking vote-by-mail strategies, with some states seeking to bypass the Postal Service with ballot drop boxes, drive-through drop-offs or expanded in-person voting options.

In other developments around the United States:

  • More than 40,000 new cases and more than 540 new deaths were reported across the country on Monday.

  • Under emergency coronavirus orders, the Trump administration is using hotels across the country to hold migrant children and families, creating a largely unregulated shadow system of detention and swift expulsions.

  • Mayor Carlos Gimenez of Miami-Dade County, Fla., said Monday that he has been holding near-weekly phone meetings with Mayor Francis Suarez of Miami and Drs. Jerome Adams, Deborah L. Birx and Anthony S. Fauci. The federal experts have taken a special interest in the stubborn virus spread in the region. Though the county’s positivity rate has dropped, Mr. Gimenez said the county’s rate needs to continue to fall to under 10 percent before more businesses can reopen.

  • The virus recession will erode city budgets in many insidious ways and cut deep into the fiscal year ahead, with many communities likely to lose 10 percent or more of the revenue they would have seen without the pandemic, according to a new analysis. Those highly dependent on tourism, on direct state aid or on volatile sales taxes will hurt the most.

  • Gyms in New York will be allowed to open again as soon as Aug. 24 and no later than Sept. 2, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Monday. Mr. Cuomo’s announcement came with several caveats: Gyms will be limited to a third of their total capacity, and people would be required to wear masks at all times. The state will also require that gyms have sign-in forms to assist with contact-tracing efforts.

  • Before the pandemic, more than 100,000 commuters in New York depended on private bus companies. Now, however, with fear of infection keeping most workers away from their offices, that herd of buses has thinned and the companies that operate them are struggling. Already, one of the oldest commuter-bus companies in the New York region has suspended all of its operations.

  • Over the weekend, 21 people in San Mateo, Calif., were charged with filing fraudulent pandemic unemployment assistance claims while in jail. The claims resulted in total payments of more than $250,000, according to the authorities. The felony charges they face — various counts of conspiracy to commit fraud — each carry a maximum penalty of thee years in prison.

  • Fearing a “twindemic” that combines a resurgence of the coronavirus and a severe flu season, health officials are encouraging people to get flu shots.

The Daily Poster

Listen to ‘The Daily’: Inside Operation Warp Speed

The goal of the initiative is admirable: getting a coronavirus vaccine out to Americans and saving lives as soon as possible. It is not, however, without its problems.

0:00/27:54

transcript

Listen to ‘The Daily’: Inside Operation Warp Speed

Hosted by Michael Barbaro; produced by Austin Mitchell; with help from Neena Pathak; and edited by Liz O. Baylen and Larissa Anderson

The goal of the initiative is admirable: getting a coronavirus vaccine out to Americans and saving lives as soon as possible. It is not, however, without its problems.

michael barbaro

From The New York Times, I’m Michael Barbaro. This is “The Daily.”

Today: To end the pandemic in the U.S., the White House is trying to defy the timelines that have governed the development of a vaccine for decades. Is it working? My colleague, Katie Thomas, on Operation Warp Speed. It’s Monday, August 17.

So, Katie, when does the hunt for a coronavirus vaccine begin in the United States?

katie thomas

Well, the vaccine companies started working on something back in January when the genetic sequence for the virus was first published. But it wasn’t until later in February, as it was spreading around the world and as cases were growing in the United States, that the broader conversation about when can we have a vaccine really began.

archived recording (president donald trump)

Well, thank you very much. Today we are meeting with the pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, the biggest in the world —

katie thomas

So then an early March —

archived recording (president donald trump)

— to discuss how the federal government can accelerate the development of vaccines and therapeutic treatments for the coronavirus.

katie thomas

President Trump met with several executives from drug companies, big vaccine manufacturers —

archived recording (president donald trump)

When do you think you could have the vaccine? When do you think you’d be able to have it — start producing it?

archived recording

We’re producing it now, an experimental lot.

katie thomas

And so these executives told him that they were moving on it at a really accelerated timetable.

archived recording

So we’re hoping to get the phase one stuff very soon now. And then it’s going to be a few months to get the human data that would allow us to pick a corrective dose to start a phase two [INAUDIBLE].

katie thomas

But even with that timetable, it would take a couple of months to get into clinical trials.

archived recording (president donald trump)

And how long would that take?

archived recording

Phase two would take a few months before then going to phase three.

archived recording (president donald trump)

All right, so you’re talking within a year.

archarchived recording (dr. anthony fauci)

Like I’ve been telling you, a year to a year in a half.

archived recording (president donald trump)

But Lenny is talking about two months.

katie thomas

And then it could be a year to a year and a half before we would have a vaccine.

michael barbaro

Hm, and by my count, a year to a year and a half from then would mean we would have a vaccine maybe next summer.

katie thomas

Right, at some point in 2021.

archived recording (president donald trump)

I mean, I like the sound of a couple of months better.

katie thomas

And it was clear that President Trump wanted to see it move more quickly.

archived recording

We have to be very careful here if you vaccinate several hundred million —

archived recording (president donald trump)

You got to make sure it works.

archived recording

Works and safe.

archived recording (president donald trump)

Doesn’t hurt you — right. I agree, I agree. Thank you very much.

archived recording

Thank you.

archived recording (president donald trump)

Great company, thank you.

katie thomas

It’s worth noting that that year to a year-and-a-half timeline is already extremely fast. The current record for developing a vaccine is actually four years for the mumps vaccine.

michael barbaro

And, Katie, can you walk me through why exactly it takes so long?

katie thomas

Well, it’s a huge process. I mean, first it starts out in the lab. And you have scientists who are basically testing out different candidates for a vaccine. And that in and of itself can take years.

michael barbaro

Right.

katie thomas

And if they do get lucky and they do come out with something that could work, then they need to start testing it on animals. And we see if they survive and if there’s any big problems. That can take months. If it passes that test, then we start human clinical trials.

So there’s three phases of that. There’s phase one, which is the early safety trial. And that can take months. And then they have to evaluate the data. And then only if they feel like it’s safe can they move on to the next phase, which is phase two — you know, with a larger group of people to test mainly safety. And they have to analyze those results again.

michael barbaro

Which I’m guessing could take months.

katie thomas

That’s right. And then, only then, do they start the biggest, riskiest phase, which is phase three, the large-scale trials to really test out whether a vaccine works. And in order to do this, they have to test it out in tens of thousands of people. And then they wait months, sometimes years.

michael barbaro

Wow.

katie thomas

And so if a vaccine makes it through all of these phases and goes through lengthy analysis of the results to make sure that they didn’t miss anything, then they submit their application to the Food and Drug Administration, which itself goes through a very long review process. And then the agency decides whether it will get approved. So you’re looking at a process that can really take a decade.

michael barbaro

I mean, just listening to you, this is an exhausting process. You have to follow each and every one of these steps in order, no matter how long it takes.

katie thomas

That’s right. And one thing that stops a lot of companies from bringing their products to the finish line is something that people call “the valley of death.”

michael barbaro

Hm, what’s that?

katie thomas

So the valley of death is the period between when a company has figured out a good candidate for a vaccine or even a drug, and then they have to put it through clinical trials. And clinical trials —

michael barbaro

Those three phases you just described?

katie thomas

Yeah, three phases. And those trials — they’re expensive, they’re risky, they take a lot of coordination with hospitals and doctors around the world. And if you fail at any step in the process, you kind of had to go back to the drawing board. So that’s a lot of times where products that were very promising basically die.

michael barbaro

And none of this timeline that you’re describing would seem ideal for developing a vaccine in the middle of an urgent deadly pandemic?

katie thomas

No. So after that March meeting when Trump was pushing for the companies to go even faster than what would have already been a record timeline, a top regulator at the F.D.A. was also thinking about how to make this process go faster. And what emerges becomes known as Operation Warp Speed.

archived recording (“star trek” clip 1)

Warp drive, Mr. Scott.

archived recording (“star trek” clip 2)

Accelerating to warp one, sir.

katie thomas

Which is a reference to “Star Trek,” because the regulator was a fan of the show.

michael barbaro

Right, because as everyone who is at least 40 years old knows, the ship at the center of Star Trek travels at warp speed.

katie thomas

Yeah, that’s right.

I was really skeptical when Operation Warp Speed first came out, because I thought it was Trump just repackaging stuff that was already being done.

michael barbaro

What do you mean?

katie thomas

Well, there’s already a unit within the Department of Health and Human Services whose whole job is to give money to companies that are developing vaccines or other treatments and to help them get through that valley of death. But what Operation Warp Speed did was they took that idea and they just ran with it. The idea was to get more companies involved at a much bigger scale. So Congress at that point had appropriated almost $10 billion in funding for both vaccines and for treatments. And the hope was that that would allow the companies to shift their resources to these clinical trials and to data analysis and development. That they would give them a lot of cash and that could basically speed up the whole process. But what was really new under the Operation Warp Speed plan was how they were approaching manufacturing. Because normally, a drug company isn’t going to start mass producing their vaccine until they know that their vaccine works, until it’s gone through all of these clinical trials and they have a pretty good idea that it’s actually going to come onto the market. And so the federal government had the idea to pay these companies a lot of money to start making millions of doses of their vaccine before they even knew that it would work. But if one of them does, then you know, as soon as we know that it’s safe and effective we will have millions of doses that are ready to go.

michael barbaro

But of course, on the flip side of that is the reality that the government will be paying companies to make millions of doses of vaccines that will very likely — many of them — never get used and probably have to get tossed into the garbage.

katie thomas

Yeah, so they’re basically taking on a financial risk that the companies would never want to do on their own. And the final piece of Operation Warp Speed is they brought in the military. Operation Warp Speed is actually being led by two agencies, the Department of Health and Human Services, which is overseeing the science and the development of the vaccines, and then the Department of Defense, which has a lot of experience in logistics. And the thought here was that the military can supply a vast amount of materials quickly to different locations, whether that’s for clinical trials or for manufacturing, or ultimately, to distribute it to millions of Americans.

michael barbaro

So, Katie, just to summarize this, under Operation Warp Speed, the government is incentivizing companies to try to make vaccines by giving them billions of dollars. On top of that, it is paying for these companies to manufacture those vaccines even before we know whether they’re safe and effective so that they will be ready at a moment’s notice. And finally, behind the scenes and surrounding all of this, the United States military is basically on call to keep this process moving.

katie thomas

Yeah, that’s right.

michael barbaro

OK, so how does it all go? I mean, what happens once all this stuff is in place and Operation Warp Speed is unleashed?

katie thomas

They start giving just vast sums of money to a lot of different companies.

archived recording 1

Well, U.S. government is pledging about $1.2 billion to AstraZeneca in its fight —

archived recording 2

And Moderna, they got a lot of money, about a half a billion dollars in federal funding —

archived recording 3

Johnson & Johnson has been given a boost, nearly half a billion dollars to develop a Covid vaccine and treatments.

katie thomas

And then in July, the government gave the biggest amount it had given out to date.

archived recording

This is a $1.6 billion — that’s billion with a B — contract to Novavax vaccines. It’s the largest —

katie thomas

Up to $1.6 billion to a company called Novavax.

archived recording

This is a huge award for Novavax, which is a smaller company —

katie thomas

Which was notable, because this is a company that had been around for more than 30 years. And yet, it had never in that history successfully brought a vaccine to market.

archived recording

Yeah, Novavax is unproven. They have been trying for decades. And so far, have not succeeded.

michael barbaro

We’ll be right back.

So, Katie, why would Operation Warp Speed give up to $1.6 billion to Novavax, this company that has never brought a vaccine to market?

katie thomas

Well, it was surprising because you know, only a year ago they were basically on the brink of collapse. Their stock was trading so low that it risked getting delisted from the NASDAQ. They had to sell their manufacturing facility to try and raise cash. And they had to lay off a number of their employees. And so you know, they were really struggling heading into 2020. But that’s kind of the way things work in the pharmaceutical industry. Failures are a part of the business. And so when 2020 came around and the coronavirus arrived, they got started working on a vaccine. And they ultimately came up with something that they felt was pretty promising. And so that’s when the government decided to give Novavax this $1.6 billion award.

michael barbaro

So this seems to be working exactly as Operation Warp Speed was designed to do, which is to give companies a big government assist so that we have as many potential vaccines arriving when we need them.

katie thomas

Yeah, that’s right. But it also is potentially problematic. Anytime you have billions of dollars just kind of sloshing around, there’s going to be questions and scrutiny and people who want to know, you know, how are these decisions being made and why. And the contracts that have come out have been heavily redacted. There hasn’t been a lot of transparency around the process. And that always raises fears about whether there are conflicts of interest. So in the case of Novavax that question immediately came up, because two of their former executives used to be the directors of the unit at the Department of Health and Human Services that gives money to companies. Before Operation Warp Speed, Novavax had applied to that unit for vaccine funding and had actually reached out to one of those directors about the application in a way that director said crossed ethical lines. He felt discussing the application while the company’s vaccine was being considered could violate federal law, given that it could influence what was supposed to be a purely scientific review. The company has said that it did nothing wrong and it had gone through the proper channels. And when things weren’t moving quickly enough, they reached out to see how they could be moved more quickly.

And questions like this around conflicts of interest have come up more broadly with Operation Warp Speed, because the person overseeing the program is a pharmaceutical industry veteran.

archived recording (president donald trump)

Operation Warp Speed’s chief scientist will be Dr. Moncef Slaoui, a world —

katie thomas

His name is Dr. Moncef Slaoui, and he was a former board number of one of the companies that received funding, Moderna. And he also holds millions of dollars in stock in another company that got government funding, GlaxoSmithKline, where he worked for 30 years.

archived recording (dr. moncef slaoui)

I have never been about the money, ever.

katie thomas

He has said that he won’t allow his ties to interfere with his work on Operation Warp Speed.

archived recording (dr. moncef slaoui)

It’s been extremely painful for me that anybody would even think that I took this job to enrich myself or my former colleagues —

katie thomas

And a government agency has reviewed the information and said that he can continue in his position.

archived recording (dr. moncef slaoui)

That’s all I have to say. I have a personal compass in ethics. And people who know me personally know that.

katie thomas

But another reason why there’s so much scrutiny around these billion dollar deals is because once companies get that label of being Operation Warp Speed, it can be very financially lucrative for them and their investors. In fact, in the case of Novavax, their stock since May has jumped nearly 800 percent.

michael barbaro

Wow.

katie thomas

Yeah, and that’s true of many of the companies that have gotten this label. They have seen their stocks surge on this vaccine news.

michael barbaro

Katie, listening to you tell the story of Novavax and its experience with Operation Warp Speed, I feel like I’m struck by two competing impulses. The first is that it feels admirable that the government is trying to throw caution to the wind, toss aside those old timelines when it comes to a vaccine, and just spend billions of dollars to save lives in the middle of this pandemic. But on the other hand, the idea of giving billions of dollars of our money — taxpayer money — to a bunch of private companies, some without much of a track record, some with complicated connections to the people granting them the money — that also feels kind of hairy.

katie thomas

Yeah, I mean, it’s very much being sorted out as we speak. You know, everyone wants a vaccine. People are desperate for it, and the federal government has kind of wagered in a way that this is really what it takes in order to get that.

michael barbaro

So, Katie, at this point, companies are getting all this money to cross that valley of death you described. So tell me how warp speedy is all this? I mean, how fast is it moving?

katie thomas

Well, things are moving pretty quickly. You know, with the help of Operation Warp Speed, the federal government has given money to seven different vaccine companies. And that’s a promise of nearly $11 billion.

michael barbaro

Wow.

katie thomas

And three of those companies — Moderna, AstraZeneca and Pfizer — are in those late-stage trials to test whether the vaccine works.

michael barbaro

So that’s pretty impressive in a way?

katie thomas

Yeah, I mean, so far, things have gone more or less according to the most aggressive schedules that have been laid out. And one thing that federal officials have said repeatedly is that when they talk about warp speed, the speed that they’re talking about is not the clinical trials themselves. They say the clinical trials themselves are not being rushed. What is being rushed is kind of everything on the outside — you know, these manufacturing deals, and analyzing the data, and kind of moving those gears of bureaucracy and making them go as quickly as they possibly can. That being said, there’s fears among scientists that there’s this X factor of President Trump —

archived recording (president donald trump)

We have a lot of vaccines under study, by the way —

katie thomas

— and his urgency to approve a vaccine.

archived recording

So what’s the earliest we could see that — a vaccine?

archived recording (president donald trump)

Sooner than the end of the year, could be much sooner.

archived recording

Soon than November 3?

archived recording (president donald trump)

Oh, I think in some cases, yeah, it’s possible before, but right around that time.

katie thomas

Their fear is that he wants to approve one before his election, and that he could push his F.D.A. to approve a vaccine before it’s truly ready.

archived recording

Will that help you in the election?

archived recording (president donald trump)

It wouldn’t hurt. It wouldn’t hurt. But I’m not doing it — I’m doing it not for the election. I want it fast, because I want to save a lot of lives.

michael barbaro

And, Katie, is that a legitimate fear? My sense is that the Food and Drug Administration, which approves drugs in the U.S. does answer to the health and human services secretary who does answer to the president. But is it reasonable to think that the president can actually stick his finger into the approval process for a vaccine?

katie thomas

Well, everyone from the F.D.A. commissioner to others in the federal government have publicly said —

archived recording (dr. anthony fauci)

The F.D.A. will look at that data. And on a science-based decision will make a determination as to the safety and efficacy and whether or not it will be approved.

katie thomas

— they will be guided by the science, and they will follow the guidelines that they’ve set out for whether they will approve a vaccine or not.

archived recording (dr. anthony fauci)

Historically, the F.D.A. has based their decisions on science. They will do it this time also, I’m certain.

archived recording

I appreciate it. Thanks for your assurances that we’ll have a safe —

katie thomas

But the concern is whether there could be a little bit of a middle ground. Rather than a full-blown approval, could there be an emergency use authorization where a vaccine could be approved, maybe for a limited group of people — say frontline health care workers — prematurely or early, before it’s made widely available to the public.

michael barbaro

And of course, that has already happened in the case of hydroxychloroquine. Because just a few months ago the F.D.A. authorized the emergency use of that as a treatment for the coronavirus, and it was a drug that President Trump himself constantly promoted and talked about and said we should all be using. And it turned out it didn’t work well — correct me if I’m wrong, Katie. It even presented safety risks and the F.D.A. ended up rescinding that emergency authorization.

katie thomas

That’s right. And so there are fears that could happen again — that the F.D.A. could be influenced by politics. You can also see the flip side though too, which is that perhaps the agency could see how it didn’t go so well, and could be newly determined to not make that mistake again.

michael barbaro

So, Katie, a quick gut check here. Just how close are we to getting a vaccine from Operation Warp Speed, something that we could start distributing across the United States?

katie thomas

Well, first of all, it’s important to remember that a vaccine is a crucial step. But it won’t mean the immediate end of the epidemic. It takes time to get the vaccine to people. Not everyone will want to get vaccinated. And it could be more effective for some people than for others. That being said, the best estimates that people inside the federal government have given is that something could be available, if all goes as planned, by the end of the year or the beginning of next year.

You know, already there are some promising candidates. And one of the companies that has released some of the most promising results is actually Novavax.

michael barbaro

Huh, this company that had never really developed a vaccine before?

katie thomas

That’s right. They recently released some results from their early trials. And they tested the blood of the people who had been given their vaccine. And they found pretty high levels of antibodies against the coronavirus. That doesn’t really prove yet whether it works. We’ll need those late-stage clinical trials to really know for sure. But it’s a really promising hint that it could work. And that’s gotten the scientists that we spoke to fairly optimistic about it.

michael barbaro

Katie, thank you very much. We appreciate it.

katie thomas

Thanks for having me.

michael barbaro

On Sunday, The Times reported that the Trump administration is working with four states — California, Florida, Minnesota and North Dakota — as well as the city of Philadelphia to develop plans for distributing an eventual coronavirus vaccine. The government is not prioritizing those communities to receive the vaccine. But instead, chose them because they represent different population densities and infection rates. Among the questions that the government is trying to answer is where to store the vaccine, and what kinds of clinics should distribute it.

We’ll be right back.

Here’s what else you need to know today.

archived recording (bernie sanders)

What you are witnessing is a president of the United States who is doing everything he can to suppress the vote, make it harder for people to engage in mail-in balloting at a time when people will be putting their lives on the line by having to go out to a polling station and vote.

michael barbaro

On Sunday, congressional Democrats acted to block President Trump from trying to undermine the United States Postal Service and mail-in voting, something that the president has suggested in interviews that he may seek to do.

archived recording (bernie sanders)

So what Trump is saying is we’re going to do everything we can — and this is not me talking. This is what Trump himself said. Look —

michael barbaro

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that she would call members back from their annual summer recess to vote on legislation that would prevent the president from making changes to the postal service. At the same time, House Democrats said that they would hold an emergency hearing about the postal service and would demand to hear from the postmaster general, a Trump ally and donor. Democrats said that the urgency stems from a warning from the postal service sent to states recently that it may not be able to meet deadlines for delivering mail-in ballots.

That’s it for “The Daily.” I’m Michael Barbaro. See you tomorrow.

GLOBAL ROUNDUP

Credit…Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

Hong Kong’s latest coronavirus outbreak appears to be tapering off, but the port city’s enhanced coronavirus testing has revealed a new cluster among its dock workers.

As Hong Kong deals with a third wave of infections, it is ramping up testing of workers whose jobs place them at heightened risk of infection. As of Monday, 57 dockside laborers were among 65 cases linked to the city’s Kwai Tsing Container Terminals.

Some workers fear that cramped conditions in the dorms, some of which hold up to 20 people, could accelerate the spread of the virus.

In April, tens of thousands were infected in Singapore as an outbreak spread through crowded dormitories holding 200,000 foreign laborers. That fueled debates over systematic racism and the fundamental structure of the nation’s hyper-globalized economy.

Two of the Hong Kong dock workers who tested positive this week had been living temporarily in cramped port dormitories fashioned from shipping containers. They were trying to avoid traveling to their homes in Shenzhen, a city in the Chinese mainland — a trip that would have required them to quarantine upon their return.

On Monday, the Union of Hong Kong Dockers called on container companies to expand their accommodation for employees and to hire workers directly instead of outsourcing recruitment to smaller firms.

In 2016, Hong Kong reported that its maritime port industry employed 86,000 people and accounted for 1.2 percent of its gross domestic product.

After battling back two waves of coronavirus infections, Hong Kong kept its new cases in the single digits for months. But cases began to spike again last month, to more than 100 per day, in part because officials had exempted seafarers, airline crews and others from mandatory quarantine.

The city has since reimposed strict social-distancing measures, and health officials have reported fewer than 100 infections a day for more than two weeks.

In other developments around the world:

  • Prime Minister Hubert Minnis of the Bahamas on Monday extended the country’s latest national lockdown for seven days and announced greater restrictions on the island of New Providence, which includes the capital, Nassau, amid a surge in cases and worries about strains on the country’s health care system. The archipelago nation has had 1,329 cases since the virus emerged there in March, almost all of them since international tourists were allowed to return on July 1. Mr. Minnis said in a national address that too many people had been defying lockdown orders by visiting their friends and family.

  • Officials in New Zealand on Tuesday pushed back against President Trump’s assertion that the remote Pacific country was “having a big surge.” New Zealand, where the national election has been delayed from September to October because of a growing cluster in Auckland, has reported 22 deaths and fewer than 1,700 cases during the entire pandemic. “I’m not concerned about people misinterpreting our status,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

  • The United States and South Korea began an annual joint military exercise on Tuesday after a two-day delay prompted by a recent outbreak in Seoul. The exercise is defensive in nature and is conducted mainly through computer simulations, officials said. This year, it will involve fewer soldiers and troops’ movements because of fear of coronavirus infections.

  • Belgium announced that students would return to school five days a week starting Sept. 1, as officials say the benefits of in-person education outweigh the risks posed by the pandemic. “We know the situation is still dangerous,” said Michael Devoldere, an education spokesman for the Dutch-speaking regional government. “But parts of our student population have not seen a classroom since March, and that’s not sustainable.

  • In some poor countries — and poverty-stricken areas of developed ones — access to broadband and computers is scarce or nonexistent, making online learning an impossible option. That has led to a renewed reliance on educational television, which is having a moment after years of heavy investment in internet learning. In countries including Peru, Tanzania and Indonesia, televisions have become tools to either provide or supplement students’ remote learning.

  • India reported 941 deaths on Monday, taking the country’s death toll past 50,000. Last week, India overtook Britain as the country with the world’s fourth-highest number of deaths, after the United States, Brazil and Mexico.

  • South Africa loosened some virus-related restrictions on Monday, including lifting a ban on the sale of tobacco and alcohol and permitting travel between provinces. Restaurants and taverns were allowed to return to normal business, subject to strict hygiene regulations, and gatherings of up to 50 people were again allowed. South Africa has the world’s fifth-highest caseload, with at least 587,000 cases, according to a Times database.

  • The Canadian Football League said Monday that it would not play a season in the fall and that it would instead focus on trying to stage a season in 2021. League officials said a lack of live fans at games would knock out its top source of revenue, and the league did not get governmental support to stage the season in a single city.

Credit…An Rong Xu for The New York Times

A desire for exercise and fears of public transit have prompted soaring demand for bicycles during the pandemic. That has created an international bike shortage, and the world’s largest bike maker expects its supplies to remain tight for some time to come.

The company, Giant, moved some of its manufacturing for the American market from China to its home base in Taiwan after President Trump started a trade war with Beijing in 2018. Then European Union imposed antidumping duties on electric bikes from China, so Giant began making those in Taiwan, too.

But when the pandemic caused demand for bikes to jump, Giant needed to reverse course. With its Taiwan facility already under strain, the company had little choice but to crank up production in China, even if it meant bearing the extra cost of tariffs.

“There’s nowhere else in the world that can go like China from zero to 100 in an instant, like a sports car. Shyeew!” Giant’s chairwoman, Bonnie Tu, said in an interview.

The Trump administration this year temporarily lifted tariffs on a variety of Chinese-made goods that are deemed strategically unimportant. Bicycles made the list, which made it easier for Giant to go back to producing some of its bikes for the U.S. market in China.

But the tariff pause for certain types of bikes expired this month, meaning Giant may need to adjust its supply arrangements yet again. The trade pact that the United States and China signed in January has held up even as the two powers clash on other issues. That has hardly made planning less complicated for companies and industries that are stuck in the middle.

“It’s not that I want to leave China. Not at all,” Ms. Tu said. “It’s that there’s nothing that can be done. There are too many trade barriers.”

Credit…Apu Gomes/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

On Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom of California called for an investigation into what he described as a major utility failure that was even more alarming set against the backdrop of the pandemic, when people, many largely confined inside, may be more dependent than ever on electricity: rolling blackouts over the weekend, caused by a record-shattering heat wave.

And a wave of wildfires are also posing particular challenges in the pandemic, Mr. Newsom said, as officials struggle to shelter residents forced to flee, and the state’s firefighting force has been depleted thanks to outbreaks in the state’s prisons.

The power issues and wildfires could also have impact on education. A reporter asked, for instance, about how the state would address the loss of remote learning time, if students lose power. “In extenuating circumstances, we have to be flexible,” he said.

The blackouts came not long after California leaders scrambled to address problems with the state’s virus data reporting system, which clouded case counts and threw into question the list of counties where virus transmission is particularly troubling.

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Mr. Newsom said on Monday that the backlog of cases arising from the data glitch had been cleared, and that the state’s seven-day average reflected that.

The state’s positivity rate and other measures, such as hospitalizations, he said, were moving in the right direction.

Several states have reported problems in their coronavirus case data, raising concerns that local leaders may not have an accurate picture of the virus’s spread in their communities as schools grapple with their reopening plans.

In Iowa, potentially thousands of recent cases may have been falsely reported as happening in March, April, May and June, instead of more recently, according to Dana Jones, a nurse practitioner in Iowa City who analyzed discrepancies in the state’s reporting figures.

In her analysis, Ms. Jones found that the state was not accurately reporting positive test results for people who had taken more than one coronavirus test. If a person tested negative in April but tested positive in August, the state filed that person’s positive test as happening in April.

The discrepancy could reveal significant under-reporting of recent cases across the state, though the extent of the error is not clear.

“I was floored, I really was,” Ms. Jones said. “They need to make this right and give us the actual data.”

The error raises questions about the true state of the virus in Iowa, where Gov. Kim Reynolds has mandated that schools must reopen with at least 50 percent in-person learning. A spokesperson for the Iowa Department of Public Health could not be reached for comment.

“It is clear the governor and the Iowa Department of Public Health are working with bad data,” Mike Beranek, the president of the Iowa State Education Association, said in a statement. “They need to postpone any in-person reopening decisions until we understand what is truly happening in our communities.”

Other states have also reported testing backlogs or errors.

Gov. Gavin Newsom of California said on Monday that officials had cleared an enormous backlog of cases that had disrupted the accuracy of local reporting numbers for weeks.

Massachusetts officials unveiled a new reporting prompt last week that provides data on individual towns but eliminates daily figures for cases and deaths by county.

And in Texas, about 59,000 test results from Walgreens had not been reported to local health departments until this week, according to a state spokeswoman.

Credit…Benjamin Rasmussen for The New York Times

Ten days after Sturgis, S.D., drew bikers from all over the country to its signature motorcycle rally despite concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, most of the crowds headed home on Sunday.

More than 350,000 vehicles had flocked into the small town during the first week of the event, according to the South Dakota Department of Transportation. Many people went without masks.

Uncertain still was what effect, if any, the event would have on the spread of the virus. Because of the time it can take for symptoms to appear and the way cases are tracked, officials may never know whether the annual rally was a place where the virus was widely passed along.

There were no immediate signs that the rally had led to a significant uptick. But if a flurry of new cases were to emerge, they would likely be reported by attendees back in their hometowns, and would not necessarily be tied to the rally.

In this city of fewer than 7,000 people, some residents seemed relieved that it was over. “There was no stopping it. People had plans to come, whether we were going to have it or not,” said Lisa Logan, 60, who left town for Iowa for much of the 10 days.

Native American tribes in western South Dakota turned away motorcyclists who attempted to travel through the reservations to Sturgis. “If they’ve come from out of state or from hot spots, we turn them away and ask them to seek an alternate route to their destinations,” said Remi Bald Eagle, the intergovernmental affairs coordinator for the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe.

Sixty percent of residents favored postponing the event, according to a city survey, and hospital officials said they intend later this week to administer coronavirus tests to any Sturgis resident who wants one.

Credit…Dylan Cole for The New York Times

Doctors on the front lines of the pandemic say they are fighting not just the coronavirus, but also a never-ending scourge of misinformation about the disease that is hurting patients. Some say they regularly treat people more inclined to believe what they read on social media than what a medical professional tells them.

Before the pandemic, medical professionals had grown accustomed to dealing with patients misled by online information, a phenomenon they called Dr. Google. But in interviews, more than a dozen doctors and misinformation researchers in the United States and Europe said the volume related to the virus was like nothing they had seen before.

According to the doctors and researchers, several factors are to blame: leaders like President Trump who amplify fringe theories; social media platforms that are not doing enough to stamp out false information; and individuals who are too quick to believe what they see online.

For example, approximately 800 people worldwide died in the first three months of the year — and thousands more were hospitalized — after following unfounded claims online that advised ingesting highly concentrated alcohol to kill the virus, researchers concluded in a report published last week in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

The American Medical Association and other groups representing doctors say the false information spreading online is harming the public health response to the disease. The World Health Organization is developing methods to measure the harm of virus-related misinformation online, and over two weeks in July the group hosted an online conference with doctors, public health experts and internet researchers about how to address the problem.

The falsehoods, doctors say, have undermined efforts to get people to wear masks and fueled a belief that the seriousness of the disease is overblown.

At some hospitals, people have arrived asking for a doctor’s note so they do not have to wear a mask at work because they believe another online rumor — that it will harm their oxygen levels. And a growing fear is that vaccine conspiracy theories could undermine eventual vaccination efforts critical for returning to pre-pandemic routines.

Online platforms like YouTube, which is owned by Google, and Facebook have introduced policies to limit coronavirus misinformation and elevate material from trusted sources. This month, Facebook and Twitter removed a post by Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign that falsely claimed that children do not get the virus.

But untrue information continues to spread. Last month, a video from a group of people calling themselves America’s Frontline Doctors conveyed inaccurate claims about the virus, including that hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug, is an effective coronavirus treatment and that masks do not slow the spread of the virus. The video was viewed millions of times.

Credit…Hong Hae-In/Yonhap, via Associated Press

The Christian pastor accused by South Korea’s president, Moon Jae-in, of impeding the government’s effort to fight the virus tested positive on Monday, officials said.

The pastor, the Rev. Jun Kwang-hoon, leads Sarang Jeil Church in Seoul, which has become the center of the latest outbreak in South Korea, with more than 300 cases reported among its members and contacts in the past six days.

Even before his church grabbed headlines with the outbreak, Mr. Jun has been known widely in South Korea for organizing large anti-government rallies against Mr. Moon. During these rallies, the conservative pastor called for Mr. Moon’s ouster, calling the liberal president a “North Korean spy” and accusing him of trying to “communize” South Korea.

Mr. Jun’s infection was confirmed on Monday by Lee Seung-ro, the mayor of Seongbuk-gu, a district of Seoul, where Mr. Jun’s church is located. Mr. Jun was hospitalized on Monday after he tested positive, Mr. Lee said in a Facebook post.

Mr. Jun and some of his church followers attended a large anti-government rally in downtown Seoul on Saturday, ignoring government orders to isolate themselves at home amid a surge in infections among their congregation, officials said. Mr. Moon called their behavior “an unpardonable act against the safety of the people.”

Mass infections in Mr. Jun’s church and another church in Gyeonggi Province, which surrounds the capital city, have helped push the daily caseload in South Korea to three-digit figures in the past four days. South Korea reported 197 new cases on Monday.

“What we see now is believed to be an early stage of what could become a big wave of infections,” said Jung Eun-kyeong, director of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on Monday. “If we fail to control the spread now, the number of cases could explode exponentially.”

Health officials said on Monday that they have so far counted 319 patients linked to Mr. Jun’s Sarang Jeil Church. The outbreak is the second largest cluster reported in South Korea, following the mass infections in the Shincheonji Church of Jesus in the central city of Daegu in February and March claimed 5,200 patients.

It was not immediately clear where and how Mr. Jun contracted the virus. But his infection prompted the authorities to repeat their call on all the thousands of participants in the Saturday rally, as well as all members of Mr. Jun’s church, to report for testing.

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New Zealand’s Prime Minister Delays Election as Virus Cases Spread

On Monday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand announced that the September election would be delayed by four weeks as new virus cases spread across Auckland.

I should be clear that the Electoral Commission since April has planned for a range of scenarios, including the possibility of an election period where the country is at Alert Level 2 and with some areas of the country at Alert Level 3. There is no suggestion at this point that New Zealand will be in these elevated alert levels during the September election. Having weighed up all these factors and taken wide soundings I have decided on balance to move the election by four weeks to the 17th of October. At the end of last week, I was advised that this date is achievable and presents no greater risk than had we retained the status quo. I have also been advised that a moving to a 17 October election day, the Commission will be able to leverage and draw on much of the work already undertaken to deliver the election. Ultimately the 17th of October and approximately nine weeks’ time provides sufficient time for parties to plan around the range of circumstances we could be campaigning under, for the Electoral Commission to prepare and for voters to feel assured of a safe, accessible and credible election.

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On Monday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand announced that the September election would be delayed by four weeks as new virus cases spread across Auckland.CreditCredit…Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand said on Monday that the country’s national election would be postponed from Sept. 19 to Oct. 17 as a cluster of new virus cases continues to spread in Auckland. But she ruled out further delays, saying that even if the outbreak worsens, “we will be sticking with the date we have.”

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who has the sole authority to determine when people cast ballots, said she had consulted with all the major parties before deciding to move the election from Sept. 19 to Oct. 17. The latest possible date she could have chosen was Nov. 21.

Ms. Ardern called the new date a compromise that “provides sufficient time for parties to plan around the range of circumstances we could be campaigning under, for the electoral commission to prepare, and for voters to feel assured of a safe, accessible and critical election.”

But she ruled out further change. Even if the outbreak worsens, she said, “we will be sticking with the date we have.”

The election delay came as the mysterious cluster of new cases grew to 58 on Monday.

Health officials are still scrambling to test thousands of workers at airports and other points of entry, along with quarantine facilities and a frozen food warehouse, as they try to determine how the virus re-emerged last week after 102 days without known community transmission in the country.

Credit…Yves Herman/Reuters

Belgian students will return to school five days a week starting Sept. 1 as officials say the benefits of in-person education outweigh the risks posed by the pandemic.

“We know the situation is still dangerous,” said Michael Devoldere, an education spokesman for the Dutch-speaking regional government. “But parts of our student population have not seen a classroom since March, and that’s not sustainable.”

As governments, parents and teachers around the world debate how to safely educate children during a pandemic, Belgium’s announcement came after the Belgian health authority issued a report saying that infected children typically showed only mild symptoms and seemed to rarely spread the virus in schools.

Students and teachers will be required to wear masks, and school officials will have the flexibility to close in response to localized outbreaks. Schools will receive additional safety guidelines this week.

Last week, a national pediatric task force urged schools to reopen, citing the success of summer camps, which have been open with safety restrictions. Belgium has among the world’s highest per-capita coronavirus death rates, driven in large part by fatalities in nursing homes. After bringing the virus under control this spring, public health officials recently battled a summertime spike. The number of new cases has recently stabilized but hospitalizations and fatalities continue to rise.

Reporting was contributed by Maggie Astor, Jannat Batra, Alan Blinder, Luke Broadwater, Alexander Burns, Ben Casselman, Damien Cave, Choe Sang-Hun, Emily Cochrane, Jill Cowan, Caitlin Dickerson, Ben Dooley, Julia Echikson, Catie Edmondson, Reid J. Epstein, Richard Fausset, Luis Ferré-Sadurní, Jacey Fortin, Oskar Garcia, Michael Gold, J. David Goodman, Astead W. Herndon, Jan Hoffman, Shawn Hubler, Ethan Hauser, Jennifer Jett, Alyson Krueger, Apoorva Mandavilli, Jonathan Martin, Tiffany May, Patricia Mazzei, Constant Méheut, Raphael Minder, Patrick McGeehan, Norimitsu Onishi, Richard C. Paddock, Isabell Grullón Paz, Tara Parker-Pope, Adam Satariano, Julie Shaver, Mitch Smith, Matt Stevens, Eileen Sullivan, Glenn Thrush, Lucy Tompkins, Tracey Tully, Mark Walker, Will Wright and Raymond Zhong.