Coronavirus Live Updates: Senators Near Deal on a $1 Trillion Rescue Plan

Even if the United States cuts its rate of transmission in half — a tall order — some 650,000 people might become infected in the next two months.

Those was the conclusion of Columbia University researchers who used a New York Times database of known cases and Census Bureau transportation data to model how the outbreak could evolve. The estimates are inherently uncertain, and they could change as the United States adopts additional measures to control the outbreak.

Italy reported 627 new coronavirus deaths on Friday, its highest number in a single day, pushing the death toll above 4,000. Spain became the second European nation to register more than 1,000 deaths, and officials there warned that the country’s health care system could soon be overwhelmed.

French officials continued to tighten restrictions on movement ahead of the expected peak of the epidemic there. In Germany, authorities in the southern state of Bavaria issued an order asking people to stay indoors in most cases — the most far-reaching measure in the country so far.

And Britain reluctantly agreed to shutter one of the symbols of the nation: the pub. Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the country’s cafes, pubs and restaurants to close Friday night, along with nightclubs, theaters, gyms, movie theaters and sports facilities.

Experts now say that the decisive moment in halting the global spread of coronavirus, when aggressive testing might have allowed officials to stay ahead of the disease, passed more than a month ago.

Delays cannot be blamed on science. Researchers say a viral test is relatively easy to develop. Rather, scientists say, the chasm between the testing haves and have-nots reflects politics, public health strategies and blunders.

As the virus reached into the United States in late January, President Trump and his administration spent weeks playing down the potential for an outbreak. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention opted to develop its own test rather than rely on private laboratories or the World Health Organization.

The outbreak quickly outpaced Mr. Trump’s predictions, and the C.D.C.’s test kits turned out to be flawed, leaving the United States far behind other parts of the world.

Governments across Latin America are ordering large-scale closures and lockdowns to try to contain the virus, as anxiety and confirmed infections rise in a part of the world that has so far largely escaped the mass outbreaks unfolding elsewhere.

All of Colombia will be under lockdown starting Tuesday, days after Argentina began requiring residents to remain at home aside from visits to supermarkets, pharmacies, hospitals and other essential locations. Chile has closed all restaurants and movie theaters. Costa Rica’s national parks will close, officials announced Friday.

Most countries in Central and South America have recorded relatively few cases of the virus, compared with countries in Asia, Europe and North America. Brazil, with more than 900 cases, has the most; Chile and Ecuador each have more than 400.

But the region’s leaders signaled that existing measures directed at warding off the virus — including some travel restrictions and business closures — were not enough.

“In the next few weeks, we have the opportunity, collectively, to end the speed of the coronavirus,” Iván Duque, Colombia’s president, said in a televised address on Friday, describing the 19-day lockdown as “drastic but urgent.” The country’s capital, Bogotá, had already been under similar measures for several days.

Israel reported its first coronavirus fatality late Friday: an 88-year-old man apparently infected by a social worker who visited the nursing home in Jerusalem where he lived, according to the authorities and news reports. The hospital where the man died said he had significant underlying illnesses.

Several other residents of the home appear to have contracted the virus from the same social worker, who caught it from a French tourist, news reports said. One of them, an 89-year-old woman, was in critical condition on Saturday.

The case reinforces the precarious situation of nursing homes in this pandemic. Amid the uncertainty swirling around the coronavirus stands an incontrovertible fact: The highest rate of fatalities is among older people, particularly those with underlying medical conditions.

Some health officials are encouraging officials to ban visitors from nursing homes. But isolation comes with its own costs.

There are at least 705 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Israel. The entire population of nine million people has been told to stay home, except when carrying out essential tasks like grocery shopping or seeking medical care.

Going to work is also still permitted, but companies face extensive restrictions about how many employees can operate in a shared space. All gatherings are limited to 10 people and tens of thousands of citizens are under home quarantine.

One of Australia’s best-known destinations, Bondi Beach in Sydney, was ordered closed on Saturday, after crowds gathered there in defiance of social distancing recommendations.

“I for one, as the police minister, cannot sit by,” David Elliott, the police and emergency services minister for the state of New South Wales, who ordered the closure, said at a news conference. “The photos that we saw this morning were a clear breach of faith,” he said, referring to images of crowds on the beach Friday.

Of Australia’s 1,023 confirmed coronavirus cases, 436 have been in New South Wales, including 83 announced on Saturday. Six of the country’s seven deaths from the virus have been in the state.

Australia’s restrictions on movement in response to the pandemic have been less strict than those in parts of Europe and the United States, but it has banned gatherings of more than 500 people outdoors and more than 100 people indoors.

The crowds at Bondi Beach on Friday, seeking relief from 95-degree heat, appeared to number well beyond 500. Photos of the crowds circulated on social media and drew considerable criticism.

Some beachgoers told Australian news outlets that they were being careful to keep a distance from others. “I’m trying to apply some reasonable risk management,” Keith McNaughton told The Sydney Morning Herald. “But for me it’s important for my mental health to keep doing exercise.”

The problem is hardly limited to Australia. Crowds of young beachgoers in the Florida Keys have raised similar concerns.

At a White House briefing on Friday, President Trump enthusiastically and repeatedly promoted the promise of two long-used malaria drugs that are still unproven against the coronavirus, but being tested in clinical trials.

“I’m a smart guy,” he said, while acknowledging he couldn’t predict the drugs would work. “I feel good about it. And we’re going to see. You’re going to see soon enough.”

But the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, delicately — yet forcefully — pushed back from the same stage, explaining that there was only anecdotal evidence that the drugs, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, may be effective against the virus.

The moment of discord between Mr. Trump and one of the nation’s most trusted authorities on the coronavirus was a clash between opinion and fact. It threw Mr. Trump’s faith in his own instincts into conflict with the careful, evidence-based approach of scientists like Dr. Fauci. Mr. Trump appeared eager to sweep aside long-established standards for evaluating drugs in order to champion the remedy he favors.

As word of the drugs’ possible effects has spread around the globe, demand for them has surged, with hospitals ordering the treatments in a desperate effort to treat severely ill patients.

Mr. Trump’s boosterish attitude toward the drugs has deepened worries among doctors and patients with lupus and other diseases who rely on them. The reports that they could work against the coronavirus have fueled shortages.

On Friday, Mr. Trump argued that there was little downside to taking the malaria drugs even if their effectiveness against the coronavirus was not yet proven.

“If you wanted, you can have a prescription. You get a prescription,” he said. “You know the expression, what the hell do you have to lose?”

Surgical masks are supposed to be used just once. But doctors in Nebraska are facing a dire shortage and are attempting a novel experiment.

Administrators at the University of Nebraska Medical Center plan to use each mask for a week or longer. To the knowledge of the program’s administrators, the medical center is the first to disinfect and reuse masks.

When administrators made the decision, they knew the procedure violated regulations promulgated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But late Thursday night, the agency issued new guidance, saying that such measures “may be necessary.”

With huge chunks of the economy grinding to a halt, many American businesses are bracing for a steep drop-off in demand. For many, that has already meant layoffs. But for some companies that are keeping their employees at home — or keeping their doors open — it means coming up with ways to make their lives easier.

Walmart, the country’s largest retailer, has announced plans to give a cash bonus to all of its hourly workers in the United States. The payments — $300 for full-time workers and $150 for part-timers — were announced on Thursday.

Bar and restaurant workers have been among the hardest hit by governments’ recommendations, or orders, that people stay home. Darden Restaurants, which employs more than 190,000 people across chains like Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse, told employees on Wednesday that it would pay two weeks’ worth of wages to hourly workers whose shifts were reduced or eliminated because of the outbreak.

There is no sign that the abysmal economic news will abate. Wall Street ended its worst week since the 2008 financial crisis, with the Dow below its position on the day before President Trump was inaugurated. The S&P 500, which fell more than 4 percent, is not far from that mark. For much of his term in office, the president has pointed to the markets’ so-called Trump bump as evidence of his success.

Feeling anxious about the coronavirus is understandable, but a little respite is also important. Try hosting a remote happy hour, for instance, or learning a new song — one you can sing while washing your hands.

Reporting was contributed by Vivian Wang, Isabel Kershner, Livia Albeck-Ripka, Julie Bosman, Jesse McKinley, Matt Apuzzo, Salem Gebrekidan, Katie Thome, Denise Grady, Kenneth P. Vogel, Catie Edmondson, Jesse Drucker, Ben Protess, Steve Eder, Eric Lipton and Alissa J. Rubin.

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