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ImageCoronavirus patients on ventilators at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, N.Y., last month.
Coronavirus patients on ventilators at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, N.Y., last month.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Errors by the premier health agency early in the pandemic persist today.

An early effort by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to contain the coronavirus in the United States collapsed when the agency’s antiquated data systems failed to collect and deliver prompt, accurate information about American travelers returning from overseas. Officials were presented with duplicative records, inaccurate phone numbers and incomplete addresses.

The C.D.C., long considered the world’s premier health agency, also made early testing mistakes, which contributed to a cascade of problems that persist today as the country tries to reopen, according to a New York Times review of thousands of emails and interviews with more than 100 state and federal officials, public health experts, C.D.C. employees and medical workers.

The agency failed to provide timely counts of infections and deaths, hindered by a fractured reporting system and aging technology. And it hesitated to absorb the lessons of other countries, including the danger of silent carriers spreading the infection. It also struggled to adjust its cautious, bureaucratic tendencies to accommodate the need to move fast as the coronavirus ravaged the country.

Given its record and resources, the C.D.C. might have become the undisputed leader in the global fight against the virus. Instead, it made missteps that undermined America’s response.

“The C.D.C. is no longer the reliable go-to place,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute.

The C.D.C.’s most consequential failure was its inability, early on, to provide state laboratories around the country with an effective diagnostic test.

And as the number of suspected cases — and deaths — mounted, the C.D.C. struggled to record them accurately. It rushed to hire extra workers to process emails from hospitals. Still, many officials turned to Johns Hopkins University, which became the primary source for up-to-date counts. Even the White House cited its numbers instead of the C.D.C.’s.

Some staff members were mortified when a Seattle teenager managed to compile coronavirus data faster than the agency, creating a website that attracted millions of daily visitors. “If a high schooler can do it, someone at C.D.C. should be able to do it,” said one longtime employee.

As protests against police brutality and racism spread, there are fears that the virus will, too.

Protesting in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday.Credit…Jim Wilson/The New York Times

“The police violence against black people — that’s a pandemic, too,” said Kelli Ann Thomas, 31, a community organizer who joined protests in Miami. “People are willing to risk their lives, to risk their health, to show solidarity with black people.”

Because of delays between exposure to the virus and symptoms, any effects will take several weeks to show. But epidemiologists said the protests would almost certainly lead to more cases.

Health experts know that the virus is far less likely to be spread outdoors than indoors. And masks reduce the chance of transmitting the virus, too. But yelling, shouting and singing can increase the risk of transmission, as can crowds. Police tactics such as spraying tear gas — which causes coughing — herding protesters into smaller areas and placing arrested individuals in buses, vans and holding cells also raise the risk.

Tay Anderson, a protest leader and city school board member in Denver, said he had been worried about the disparate effects of the virus on black Colorado residents as thousands marched through the city and rested shoulder to shoulder on the lawn of the State Capitol in silent demonstrations to decry Mr. Floyd’s death.

He put out a call on social media for all protesters to join him in getting tested for the virus on Saturday morning at the Pepsi Center, a concert arena where Denver has been running free, large-scale testing.

“WE ARE STILL IN A PANDEMIC,” he wrote on Twitter.


Sweden’s no-lockdown architect has some regrets, and Germany plans to lift its travel ban.

A bistro in Stockholm in April.Credit…Andres Kudacki for The New York Times

The architect of Sweden’s no-lockdown coronavirus policy, Anders Tegnell, said Wednesday that the country should have imposed stricter measures to prevent the spread of the disease.

Mr. Tegnell, who is Sweden’s state epidemiologist, has previously said that too many people had died in the country. On Wednesday he also admitted that more closures may have been necessary. His comments came in an interview with Radio Sweden.

“If we encountered the same disease, knowing what we know today, I think we would end up doing something in the middle between what Sweden did, and what the rest of the world did,” Mr. Tegnell said.

Sweden allowed some schools to remain open, as well as restaurants and bars. But the professional soccer league was suspended, gatherings of more than 50 people were banned, amusement parks were closed and all Swedes were asked to keep 2 meters apart and pause all travel. Sweden currently has 38,589 confirmed cases and 4,468 deaths. Its much smaller, less populous, neighboring countries that enforced strict lockdowns have fewer cases and deaths.

Mr. Tegnell said there was “potential to improve” in Sweden. “It would be good to know exactly what should be closed down to better hinder the spread of the disease.”

Mr. Tegnell has become a cult hero to many young Swedes, who are happy the country didn’t go into lockdown. His face is printed on T-shirts, mugs and even inked into tattoos.

  • Germany will lift its travel ban on 29 European countries, including Britain and Iceland, on June 15 and replace it with travel advisories, the country’s foreign minister, Heiko Maas, said Wednesday. The travel ban was imposed March 17, when infections were rising soaring in Europe. Despite the change, Mr. Maas warned that caution should still be taken. “We must not lull ourselves into a false sense of security,” he said in a statement. “Together we must prevent the resumption of tourism from leading to a second wave of the coronavirus infections, here or elsewhere.” The loosening of the ban covers the 26 other E.U. countries, states that are part of the Schengen free-travel agreement and the United Kingdom.

  • Joblessness in Europe ticked up slightly in April, as government-backed furlough programs designed to limit mass unemployment cushioned the blow of a devastating economic downturn. The eurozone unemployment rate rose to 7.3 percent from 7.1 percent in March, although it was down from 7.6 percent a year ago. Around 12 million people in the 19 countries that use the euro were registered as unemployed. But many national financial support programs are set to begin scaling back soon. Since March, France, Germany, Denmark and other countries have effectively been paying businesses not to lay people off and to keep them on standby when their economies reopened.


Republicans say Trump will not deliver his convention speech in Charlotte.

The Las Vegas Strip last week. The Republican National Committee is considering the city as an alternative convention site.Credit…Mario Tama/Getty Images

President Trump’s speech at the Republican National Convention will be moved out of Charlotte, N.C., party officials said Tuesday night, after indications that the entire event might be relocated because of a high-stakes feud with Democratic officials in North Carolina.

Mr. Trump and Republican officials have been pressing North Carolina for reassurances that they can hold a large-scale, traditional convention. But with virus cases growing in the state and hospitalizations still climbing, Mr. Cooper wrote in a letter to Republican officials on Tuesday that “the people of North Carolina do not know what the status of Covid-19 will be in August, so planning for a scaled-down convention with fewer people, social distancing and face coverings is a necessity.”

President Trump said in a series of tweets on Tuesday evening that because Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, refused to guarantee the use of the city’s Spectrum arena, “we are now forced to seek another State to host the 2020 Republican National Convention.”

But party officials said they could still hold other convention business in Charlotte, so as not to break a contract they signed with the city more than two years ago.

In an implicit condemnation of the social-distancing regulations that Mr. Cooper has insisted upon, Michael Ahrens, communications director of the Republican National Committee, said that “should the governor allow more than 10 people in a room, we still hope to conduct the official business of the convention in Charlotte.”

Here’s what else is happening in the United States.

  • The Senate voted largely along party lines on Tuesday to confirm Brian D. Miller, a White House lawyer, to be the inspector general overseeing the Treasury Department’s $500 billion pandemic recovery fund. The confirmation puts Mr. Miller at the center of the politically charged effort to distribute government money to businesses crippled by the pandemic. Mr. Miller was confirmed by a vote of 51 to 40.

  • The N.B.A. has been in negotiations with Disney to restart its season by holding games and practices at the complex, turning it into the capital of the basketball universe. Players, coaches and staff members would also stay at Disney World, where Disney owns 18 hotels, with the aim of providing a protective bubble from the virus.

  • At least 15 of the 1,106 graduating cadets who returned to West Point ahead of President Trump’s commencement speech on June 13 tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a U.S. Army spokeswoman. None had symptoms, and the virus had not spread from them to any other cadets among the class since they returned to the U.S. Military Academy last week, the spokeswoman, Col. Sunset Belinsky, said on Tuesday. She said that all cadets were tested as they arrived on campus and that those who tested positive were immediately isolated

What will your next international flight look like?

Disinfecting luggage at the airport in Istanbul on Monday.Credit…Chris Mcgrath/Getty Images

International travel has always been a proxy for trust among nations and people, but the pandemic has poisoned the air. Now, relationships are being rebuilt under enormous economic pressure, with a wary eye on a pathogen that is not going away anytime soon.

The calculations of risk and reward vary. Some countries are seeking ways to reopen to traditionally important sources of trade and tourism even if they are still struggling with the virus, like the United States. Others are scanning the globe for safer, if less lucrative, partners.

The challenge involves both epidemiology and psychology — enough restrictions to make travelers feel safe, but not so many that no one wants to bother.

In interviews, airport executives, tourism officials and travel analysts, investors, doctors and government officials predicted masks, fever checks, contact-tracing apps and even coronavirus throat swabs. Fewer flights will mean more connections and longer journeys. But discounts and smaller crowds will soften the blow.

With every phase of reopening, officials said, more movement means more risk and more work, for governments but also travelers.

“It’s just not going to be as free-flowing and spontaneous as it once was,” said Margy Osmond, the chief executive of Australia’s largest tourism association and co-chair of the group working on travel between that country and New Zealand. “I don’t know that it will be more expensive — the jury is still out on that — but it will mean the average traveler has to take more responsibility.”

Thousands of new volunteers accelerate an effort to preserve the stories of the Nazis’ victims.

Prisoners after the liberation of Buchenwald concentration camp near Weimar, Germany, in April 1945.Credit…Eric Schwab/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The Arolsen Archives, the world’s largest devoted to the victims of Nazi persecution, have gotten a hand from people who are stranded at home because of the pandemic.

The archive’s “Every Name Counts” project has attracted thousands of online volunteers to help index names from an enormous collection of papers. To date, they have added over 120,000 names, birth dates and prisoner numbers in the database.

The archive has more than 30 million original documents, containing information on the wartime experiences of as many as 40 million people, including Jews executed in extermination camps and forced laborers conscripted from across Nazi-occupied Europe.

It began scanning and digitizing its collection in the late 1980s. In the last year, 26 million scanned documents have been posted online. Most, however, are still not indexed by name, making it hard to find references to a specific person.

“We’ve had 20 or 30 staffers indexing documents day in and day out for 20 years, but we have 30 million documents,” said the archive’s director, Floriane Ms. Azoulay. “It’s just not feasible to do it all ourselves.”

The archive had been working with Zooniverse, a crowdsourcing platform for academic research. With the pandemic, it decided to scale up that work.

On April 24, the archive posted tens of thousands of documents from the Buchenwald, Dachau and Sachsenhausen concentration camps to the platform. Soon, volunteers from around the world were poring over the records.

Amsterdam’s sex workers face tough choices as much of the city reopens without them.

The Prostitution Information Center in Amsterdam provides information to sex workers and tours to visitors. But with no tourists, it has lost its main revenue source.Credit…Laetitia Vancon for The New York Times

Patrick Kingsley, an international correspondent, and Laetitia Vancon, a photojournalist, are driving more than 3,700 miles to explore the reopening of the European continent after coronavirus lockdowns. Read all their dispatches.

In De Wallen, the main red-light district of Amsterdam, a locksmith is open, as are a few bars and the shops selling sex toys, whips, handcuffs and the odd latex dress.

As much of the economy in the Netherlands has begun reopening, this area, typically packed with tourists, has remained largely empty because the trade at its heart remains shut down. Brothels and their sex workers have been told to wait until September to start doing business again, about two months after gyms and saunas are scheduled to resume operations.

For many sex workers, the continuing shutdown has meant poverty — or a surreptitious, and hazardous, return to their trade.

Charlotte DeVries, the professional name of an escort working in Amsterdam, said she knew seven sex workers who had decided to work in secret, just to pay their rent, even though they knew they could be especially vulnerable to abusive clients.

Before the coronavirus crisis, if a client became violent, “you would go to the police,” Ms. DeVries said. “But now you can’t do that, because what you’re doing is illegal.

Though prostitution is legal in the Netherlands, many sex workers prefer not to declare their profession to the government because the trade still carries a social stigma and because some of them are not fully licensed. As a result, many did not qualify for emergency unemployment funds.

In a survey of 108 sex workers in the Netherlands conducted online by SekswerkExpertise, a research group in Amsterdam, 56 percent of the respondents said they had applied for coronavirus support. Of those applicants, only 13 percent said they had received help.

Aboveground pools are having a moment.

Customers shopping at Central Jersey Pools in Freehold, N.J.Credit…Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Staring down the barrel of a long, hot summer — with vacations on hold and many camps, playgrounds and public pools closed — homeowners are hunting for ways to stay cool, active and sane.

So pools are having a moment in the sun, if you will.

High-end in-ground varieties remain in demand among homeowners with deep pockets and the luxury to wait months for permits and construction. But aboveground versions are the hottest items at many pool stores, both because of their relative affordability and ease of installation.

“Sales are up exponentially,” said Steven Metz, president of Central Jersey Pools in Freehold. “Triple what it was last year.”

And it’s not just Americans.

“It’s really been 48 states and Europe,” said Doug Hollowell, the owner of one of the nation’s largest aboveground pool manufacturers, Doughboy Pools in Arkansas. “We’ve seen pool packages shipped to places we never thought they’d go.”

Prices for metal-frame pools, including installation, can range from about $3,500 to $15,000, Mr. Metz said, depending on size and sophistication. (Some can be sunken partially into the ground with built-in steps, for example, much like in-ground pools.)

Reporting was contributed by Liz Alderman, Andrew Curry, Thomas Erdbrink, Sheri Fink, Eric Lipton, Abby Goodnough, Apoorva Mandavilli, Christopher F. Schuetze, Michael D. Shear, Kaly Soto, Megan Twohey, Tracey Tully, Mark Walker and Noah Weiland.

Orignially published in NYT.

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