Coronavirus Briefing: What Happened Today

As of this week, coronavirus cases are rising in 41 American states, and in many regions the situation has never been worse. Hospitalizations are nearing a record national high and deaths are the highest they have been since late May.

But amid this devastating wave, one region has managed to get the virus under control: the Northeast. New cases there remain below their April peak, and the region has five of the country’s nine states with flat or falling case levels.

In just over two months, states along the East Coast — from Delaware to Maine — have gone from the country’s worst hot spot to something resembling Europe. As in Italy and Spain, the Northeast was devastated by a rush of infections and deaths, and state leaders responded — after some initial hesitation — with strict lockdowns and large investments in testing and contact tracing. Like their European counterparts, Northeasterners also mostly followed the rules, including wearing masks, and have supported tough measures to bend the curve.

If the trends in the United States continue, the differences between the Northeast and the rest of the nation may become so pronounced by the fall flu season that some experts say they may resemble two different countries: one with overwhelmed hospitals and ballooning cases, and another that continues to wrestle a little with the virus, but manages to keep its economy in OK shape.

An uncertain future. The coming months may be difficult for the U.S., as the latent effects of the spring shutdown come into view and the predicted flood of evictions begin. When the $600 a week in extra federal unemployment benefits expires at the end of the month, more than 200 million Americans will see their incomes drop, which may have a significant effect on the wider economy.

With more than 70,000 infections, the Philippines has the second-highest case count in Southeast Asia, after Indonesia. The nation’s death toll has surpassed 1,800, and health authorities have come under increasing pressure from citizens who have grown wary of their strongman president, Rodrigo Duterte.

Mr. Duterte recently empowered the police to go home to home searching for the sick, and has said that anyone not wearing a mask will be arrested.

We spoke to our colleague Jason Gutierrez, who is based in Manila, about what’s happening. Our conversation has been lightly edited and condensed.

What is the status of the virus in the Philippines?

The government hasn’t really been upfront about what’s happening. President Duterte just said that all we can do is wait for the experts in the United States or China to develop a vaccine and, apart from that, basically advised the public to follow the rules or risk getting arrested.

Our health ministry is seen by many as really inefficient. It lets President Duterte say what he wants to say and does not clarify it in public.

What’s it like in Manila?

People have to go through checkpoints, and the police go around some areas in fatigues, as if they’re going into battle. Some carry large firearms. It’s worrying because it’s militarizing the response to the health problem.

In some areas, especially the impoverished parts of Manila, the situation is a bit dire. People are really afraid to leave their homes and are basically told to just wait it out for food and medical advice or risk being arrested.

What has the response been to President Duterte’s saying the police would arrest people who didn’t wear masks?

In a lot of places, you see people always wearing medical masks, so it makes you wonder.. Ironically, he does not wear a mask when he meets his officials, and he wore a mask only when he made that threat.

Militarizing the response is probably his way of telling the public that he is doing something.

How are the restrictions in the Philippines different from elsewhere in the world?

The authorities have been empowered basically just to pick up anyone because they have allegedly violated some rule, no matter how vague. So apart from worrying about the disease, people are worrying about their security.

A Filipino broadcast journalist and his friends were biking, and they were all wearing masks when they stopped to rest. He took off his mask to take a sip of water and was picked up.

He was taken to a stadium where they take all the Covid-19 violators to listen to a seminar on the proper way of wearing a mask and doing all these medical things — but they’re putting people in proximity, which heightens the risk of getting sick.

It’s time for the weirdest baseball season in recent memory.

Major League Baseball returns on Thursday, looking a whole lot different from what teams planned for in spring training. With 60 games, no fans (for now) and a universal designated hitter, some teams will be in a better position than others. First up: Yankees vs. Nationals, and Giants vs. Dodgers.

Our baseball columnist looks at the upside and the downside of a delayed, shortened season for all 30 teams.

The entire sports world has had the ultimate timeout — and a once-in-a-lifetime chance to make improvements. How should each sport rethink itself moving forward? Our Sports desk has a few ideas: realign leagues with quick travel in mind; overhaul the way sports are watched; simplify the rules; and make fields and courts bigger. We’d also like to hear from you.

  • Arizona is recording more than 3,000 new cases a day on average this month — double what it was in mid-June — but some disease specialists are cautiously optimistic that the crisis may be retreating.

  • The annual banquet in Stockholm to celebrate the winners of the Nobel Prize has been canceled because of the pandemic.

  • The average number of daily new cases in Spain has more than tripled in the month since its state of emergency ended. The country now has 224 local outbreaks.

Here’s a roundup of restrictions in all 50 states.

My husband and I started visiting old graveyards, searching for my maternal grandfather’s ancestors. We found the weathered tombstone of my fifth great-grandmother, born in 1755, and the cemetery where my fifth great-grandfather, a Revolutionary War veteran, is buried. The headstones make fascinating reading, and there’s no better place for social distancing.

— Kathleen J. Corbalis, Galloway Township, N.J.

Let us know how you’re dealing with the outbreak. Send us a response here, and we may feature it in an upcoming newsletter.

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Remy Tumin contributed reporting.

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