Israel’s plan to combat its surge with new lockdowns is angering some ultra-Orthodox and Arab communities.
The United States added 1.4 million jobs in August as employers continued to bring back furloughed workers.
America’s summer failure
As summer comes to a close, the United States is averaging about 40,000 new cases a day, down from a horrifying peak in late July. But in many ways, the country is worse off now than at the beginning of the season: On Memorial Day weekend, the United States averaged 22,000 cases a day.
The Memorial Day and Labor Day holidays bookend a summer of lost opportunity. The United States failed to stamp out the virus before the fall, which is expected to bring new dangers with the start of the school year, flu season and cooler weather that will drive people indoors.
To make matters more complex, our colleague, Mitch Smith, who tracks the virus, told us that the current state of epidemic is “a tale of two countries.”
Some states that had devastating outbreaks this summer, like Georgia, Florida, Arizona, Texas and California, have all seen sustained declines. Arizona, for example, which once averaged 3,800 new cases a day, now has about 500 cases a day after it a fresh round of restrictions. And parts of the South and the Great Plains are now are seeing cases rise, especially in Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota.
“These are places that previously hadn’t been hit as hard on a per-capita basis,” Mitch told us. “In all three of those states, significant amounts of the new cases can be traced to the outbreaks on college campuses. But some rural areas, where there’s not an obvious college connection, are also having major upticks.”
There are, to be sure, some promising signs: Fewer Americans are sick, hospitalized and dying from the coronavirus compared with the earlier peaks this summer. But the number of deaths are still averaging about 850 a day, Mitch said. While deaths from the virus are declining, the decline is not the steep downward trend that many experts had hoped for.
“We’re in a slightly better place than we were a month or so ago,” Mitch said. “But we’re still in a very, very concerning spot. Cases are trending upward in parts of the country, we continue to see large numbers of cases and deaths and there are a lot of unknowns this fall.”
A cultural revival
Entertainment is slowly coming back. Sitting elbow-to-elbow in a crowded space may still be dicey, but there’s more culture to consume now than there was earlier during the pandemic. Here are some of the things happening across the United States:
“Tenet,” Christopher Nolan’s much-delayed thriller, came out yesterday in the United States — the first major blockbuster to hit theaters since the pandemic began. Hollywood is looking to the movie to revive the beleaguered film industry, and there are already positive signs: It brought in $53.6 million last weekend in Europe and other international territories, where it debuted last week. If you aren’t ready to venture out, you can watch Disney’s new live-action remake of “Mulan,” which started streaming today on Disney+.
In August, a small regional theater in Massachusetts began putting on “Godspell,” the first professional musical to be staged in the United States during the pandemic. Michael Paulson, the Times theater reporter, has tracked the production’s journey and spoke about it on today’s episode of “The Daily.” “There’s like this enthusiasm, like, ‘They really did this! And wow, they were good,’” Michael said of the live performance. “And I really did this. I came to a show and I lived to tell about it.”
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New York’s first Makeup Museum opened this week after a complete rethink of its first exhibit, “Pink Jungle: 1950s Makeup in America.” The original plan was to allow visitors to mix their own makeup, sample colors and touch artifacts from the period. All of that has been replaced by distanced display cases, wall mountings and demonstration tables for a touchless experience that begins with a timed reservation and a temperature check.
An outbreak at a state prison in Tennessee has accounted for an 80 percent rise in new cases over the past week in Wayne County, a rural community in the Tennessee River Valley.
France has closed 22 of its roughly 60,00 schools because of outbreaks, less than a week after students returned to classroooms.
New Zealand has reported its first death from the virus in more than three months, after a man in his 50s died in an Auckland hospital.
Just as Thailand hit 100 days of no reported cases involving local transmission, health officials announced that a man in jail had tested positive for the virus, prompting a lockdown of the prison.
What else we’re following
Russian scientists published the first report on their controversial Covid-19 vaccine, finding that volunteers produced a relatively modest amount of antibodies.
Italy’s former prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, was admitted to the hospital last night after testing positive for the virus.
Moncef Slaoui, the chief adviser for the White House vaccine program, said it was “extremely unlikely but not impossible” that a vaccine would be available by Election Day, November 3.
Millions of university students in Latin America are leaving their studies after being forced to drop out because of the pandemic, threatening decades of educational progress.
As some New Yorkers flee the city, others are moving closer to their offices to bypass public transit.
What you’re doing
My daughter and I miss the drive home from school where she would debrief about what happened that day. We’re now taking a drive at 3 p.m. every school day to give us special time together to recreate that experience. It’s nice to have the daily routine and be out of the house together in a mask-free, safe environment.
— Heather Bohr Unterseher, Pasadena, Calif.
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