Coronavirus Live Updates – The New York Times

As U.S. schools reopen, a study finds at least 97,000 children were recently infected.

As schools face the daunting challenge of reopening while the coronavirus continues to spread, at least 97,000 children around the United States tested positive in the last two weeks of July, according to a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association. It says that at least 338,000 children had tested positive through July 30, meaning more than a quarter tested positive in just those two weeks.

The report comes as some schools have tried to reopen, only to quickly order quarantines or close their doors. North Paulding High School in Georgia, which drew attention after images of its crowded hallways circulated on social media, announced on Sunday that it would switch to online instruction for Monday and Tuesday after reporting at least nine virus cases.

States in the South and West accounted for more than seven out of 10 infections in the new report, which relied on data from 49 states along with Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and Guam. The count could be higher because the report did not include complete data from Texas and parts of New York State outside of New York City.

Missouri, Oklahoma, Alaska, Nevada, Idaho and Montana were among the states with the highest percentage increase of child infections during that period, according to the report.

New York City, New Jersey and other states in the Northeast, where the virus peaked in March and April, had the lowest percentage increase of child infections, according to the report.

Not every locality where data was collected categorized children in the same age range. Most places cited in the report considered children to be people no older than 17 or 19. In Alabama, though, the age limit was 24; in Florida and Utah the age limit was 14.

The report noted that children rarely get severely sick from Covid-19. But another report, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, highlighted how the threat from a new Covid-19-related condition, called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, or MIS-C, has disproportionately affected people of color.

The C.D.C. said that from early March through late July, it received reports of 570 young people — ranging from infants to age 20 — whose symptoms met the definition of MIS-C. Most of those patients were previously healthy, the report said.

About 40 percent were Hispanic or Latino, 33 percent were Black and 13 percent were white, the report said. Ten died and nearly two-thirds were admitted to intensive care units, it said. Symptoms include a fever, rash, pinkeye, stomach distress, confusion, bluish lips, muscle weakness, racing heart rate and cardiac shock.

Mexico is battling one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in the world, with at least 52,000 confirmed deaths, the third-highest toll of the pandemic. And its struggle has been made even harder by a pervasive phenomenon: a deeply rooted fear of hospitals.

The problem has long plagued nations overwhelmed by unfamiliar diseases. During the Ebola epidemic in 2014, many in Sierra Leone believed that hospitals had become hopeless death traps, leading sick people to stay home and inadvertently spread the disease to their families and neighbors.

In Mexico, a similar vicious cycle is taking place. As the pandemic crushes an already weak health care system, many Mexicans see the Covid ward as a place where only death awaits — to be avoided at all cost.

The consequences, doctors, nurses and health ministers say, are severe. Mexicans are waiting to seek medical care until their cases are so bad that doctors can do little to help them. Thousands are dying before ever seeing the inside of a hospital, government data show, succumbing to the virus in taxis on the way there or in sickbeds at home.

Fighting infections at home may not only spread the disease more widely, epidemiologists say, but it also hides the true toll of the epidemic because an untold number of people die without ever being tested.

Many Mexicans say they have good reason to be wary of hospitals: Nearly 40 percent of people hospitalized with confirmed cases of the virus in Mexico City, the epicenter of the nation’s outbreak, end up dying, government data show, a high mortality rate even when compared with some of the worst coronavirus hot spots worldwide. During the peak of the pandemic in New York City, less than 25 percent of coronavirus patients died in hospitals, studies have estimated.

While the statistic may be imprecise because of limited testing, doctors and researchers confirmed that a startling number of people are dying in Mexico’s hospitals.

“When you’ve got a White House that is not interested in science, it’s important to have a strong counterweight,” said Dr. Peter Lurie, a former associate commissioner at the F.D.A. who now runs the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Dr. Hahn, he said, “is not a powerful presence.”

In an interview, Dr. Hahn, 60, defended his record as F.D.A. chief. All of his decisions have been guided by the data, he said, noting that rapidly evolving science has sometimes led to policy changes.

“I do not feel squeezed,” Dr. Hahn said. “I have been consistent in my message internally about using data and science to make decisions.”

India’s health ministry said the country had recorded more than 1,000 coronavirus deaths on Sunday, the first time the daily death toll had been that high.

Some health experts said the high number is likely to be seen again, as state-run hospitals are still overflowing with sick patients, and private hospitals are mostly out of reach for many Indians.

The high count has some Indians questioning the government’s seeming failure to capitalize on the gains made during its initial moves to contain the virus.

In late March, Prime Minister Narendra Modi implemented one of the most severe lockdowns anywhere, ordering all Indians to stay inside, halting transportation and closing most businesses.

But as the ailing economy started contracting, officials lifted some of the restrictions, hoping to ease the economic suffering. People soon thronged markets, maintaining little social distance.

In some of the congested localities, there was an explosion of new infections.

“We were cramped inside for months,” said Saurab Sharma, a schoolteacher, in Delhi, India’s capital. “But it seems the government did not know how to make the most out of the lockdown gains.”

As of Sunday, India had more than 2.2 million infections and 44,386 deaths, according to a New York Times database. The country’s caseload is the world’s third-largest, after those in the United States and Brazil, and India has recorded at least 800 deaths a day in the past week.

The country is recording more new cases than the United States and Brazil, although India carries out more tests than Brazil, at 700,000 a day. (An earlier version of this post mischaracterized the number of tests conducted by India. It conducts a similar number of tests as the United States, not more.)

Indian officials said on Monday that more than 80 percent of the new cases were being reported in 10 of India’s 29 states, and that the number of recoveries exceeded 1.5 million.

Some public health experts have linked the country’s rising infection toll to its spread in densely populated areas of major cities, which have crowded marketplaces and almost no social distancing.

global roundup

In a visit to Taiwan, a top U.S. official praises the island’s response to the pandemic.

The United States’ top health official lauded Taiwan’s democracy on Monday as he met with the island’s leader for a visit laden with symbols of stronger ties between Washington and the self-ruled island claimed by Beijing.

Alex M. Azar II, the secretary of health, is the highest-ranking American official to visit Taiwan since Washington severed official ties with the island in 1979 and established formal diplomatic relations with the Communist government in Beijing.

Mr. Azar’s trip should have been unremarkable — a visit by an American health secretary to an unofficial ally in Asia that has been among the few success stories of the coronavirus pandemic. But with relations between the United States and China in a downward spiral, Mr. Azar’s trip has taken on greater significance. His visit points to the increasingly important role Taiwan will play — and the risks the island will face — in a brewing ideological battle between the world’s two largest economies.

“It is a true honor to be here to convey a message of strong support and friendship from President Trump to Taiwan,” Mr. Azar said in remarks at the Taiwanese presidential office before heading into a meeting with Tsai Ing-wen, the island’s leader. “Taiwan’s response to Covid-19 has been among the most successful in the world, and that is a tribute to the open, transparent, democratic nature of Taiwan’s society and culture.”

As of Monday, the island of 23 million off the southeastern coast of China had reported just 480 coronavirus cases and 7 deaths. Taiwan’s officials have sought to build on that success to promote the island as a model of democracy, in part by sending millions of masks labeled “Made in Taiwan” to countries in need.

Ms. Sample wishes she could warn other women — especially Black women — about the challenges of being pregnant during a pandemic. “It’s scary. You end up feeling really alone,” she said. “I would hate for this to happen to anyone else.”

Reporting was contributed by Emily Bobrow, Stacy Cowley, Andrew Higgins, Sheila Kaplan, Natalie Kitroeff, Hari Kumar, Ron Lieber, Ivan Nechepurenko, Azi Paybarah, Amy Qin, Kaly Soto, Paulina Villegas, Mark Walker and Sameer Yasir.