Trump says the U.S. will end its relationship with the W.H.O., alarming health experts.
After spending weeks accusing the World Health Organization of helping the Chinese government cover up the early days of the coronavirus epidemic in China, President Trump said on Friday that the United States would terminate its relationship with the agency.
“The world is now suffering as a result of the malfeasance of the Chinese government,” Mr. Trump said in a speech in the Rose Garden. “Countless lives have been taken, and profound economic hardship has been inflicted all around the globe.”
In his 10-minute address, Mr. Trump took no responsibility for the deaths of 100,000 Americans from the virus, instead saying China had “instigated a global pandemic.”
There is no evidence that the W.H.O. or the government in Beijing hid the extent of the epidemic in China, and public health experts generally view Mr. Trump’s charges as a way to deflect attention from his administration’s own bungled attempts to respond to the virus’s spread in the United States.
A spokeswoman for the W.H.O. in Geneva, where word of Mr. Trump’s announcement arrived around 9 p.m., said the agency would not have a response until Saturday.
Public health experts in the United States reacted to Mr. Trump’s announcement with alarm.
“We helped create the W.H.O.,” said Dr. Thomas Frieden, the former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has worked with the organization since its creation in 1948.
“We’re part of it — it is part of the world,” Dr. Frieden said. “Turning our back on the W.H.O. makes us and the world less safe.”
Administration officials will only testify before Congress if committee leaders agree to conduct the hearings in person, the White House informed Congress on Friday. The decision amounted to a direct challenge to new House rules that allow committees and lawmakers to conduct their work remotely during the coronavirus pandemic, but it was also symbolic of a growing partisan divide about how to conduct political business in an era of concerns about public health.
The new condition, outlined in a notice obtained by The New York Times, is in addition to a policy the administration instituted this spring barring administration and agency officials from testifying without the express permission of Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff.
“The Administration is willing to make accommodations, but only when Congress is similarly willing to make accommodations, including agreeing to appear in person,” the White House said, according to a notice sent to congressional staff members. The notice acknowledged exceptions could be made in instances in which a witness needed to quarantine.
The policy comes as the House of Representatives plans to pull back from its usual activities. Democratic leaders announced on Friday that they expect to call the chamber into session for votes for only three weeks over the next three months — a substantially scaled-back summer schedule.
President Trump, in contrast, is ramping up his campaigning in the coming weeks. While he still has no mass rallies scheduled, he will resume in-person fund-raisers next month under new restrictions, according to Republican Party officials.
Mr. Trump will headline a June 11 fund-raiser at a private home in Dallas, and a June 13 fund-raising event at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J.
The Dallas event will cost $580,600 per couple to attend, a party official said, and the Bedminster event will be held outdoors and cost $250,000 per person.
Only about 25 attendees are expected at each of the events, a nod to social distancing recommendations. But each attendee will have to submit to a virus test, complete a wellness questionnaire, and pass a temperature screening.
Vice President Mike Pence is also expected to resume attending fund-raisers in June, but the future of the Republican convention scheduled for August in Charlotte, N.C., remained in limbo as Republicans planning the event traded demands with North Carolina’s Democratic governor.
In a joint letter to Gov. Roy Cooper on Thursday, the Republican National Committee chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel, and the president of the convention committee, Marcia Lee Kelly, laid out a deadline of June 3 to approve safety measures to prevent the spread of the virus during the event.
On Friday, Mr. Cooper’s administration responded with a letter of its own, asking Ms. McDaniel and Ms. Kelly to detail the R.N.C.’s plans to protect participants, and to specify whether the president was still set on holding a large-scale nominating event where crowds would not wear face masks.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York said on Friday that he expected the city to meet several benchmarks that would permit millions of virus-weary residents to enjoy the first signs of a normal life as early as June 8. Retail stores could open for curbside or in-store pickup, and nonessential construction and manufacturing could resume, part of an initial phase that could send as many as 400,000 people back to work.
As other parts of the nation, including less populated sections of New York State, have already reopened, New York City, which lost more than 20,000 lives to the virus, has taken much longer to recover.
Deaths in New York have dropped to only dozens a day, rather than the 700 or 800 a day that were taking place in April.
That progress largely came because many New Yorkers followed the rules, and have been wearing masks and maintaining social distance as requested. The rewards of vigilance have been manifest not only in decreasing fatalities, but also in the declining number of people testing positive for the virus and those requiring hospital stays because of it.
“I am proud of the way New York is figuring it out,” Mr. Cuomo said.
But even with the strides the city has made, the road to normalcy will no doubt be steep and rocky. Since February, nearly 900,000 local jobs have vanished and thousands of businesses have closed their doors — some forever. Revenues from sales taxes are expected to drop by $1 billion, part of a frightening $9 billion estimated budget shortfall that could push officials into risky borrowing and force drastic cuts to essential city services.
Major cities like Washington D.C. and Los Angeles were set to continue easing restrictions, with Washington reopening outdoor seating at restaurants. The number of diners in a party will be limited to six people and tables will have to be spaced at least six feet apart. Hair salons and barbershops were also permitted to open for appointment-only haircuts with stations six feet apart. The city’s parks are open, but not its playgrounds.
The northern suburbs of Virginia also began limited reopenings on Friday, while suburban counties in Maryland remain shut. Earlier this week, Dr. Deborah L. Birx, the White House virus response coordinator, singled out the Washington region as among a handful of metropolitan areas where positive test rates remained high.
Illinois is expected to enter its third phase of reopening in the coming days, bringing barbershops, salons, retail stores and other businesses back with some limitations. Gatherings of more than 10 people remain banned. New cases in the state continue to mount, with an average of more than 1,800 new cases a day over the past week.
The governor of Connecticut announced Friday that his state would begin to allow gatherings of up to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors. Houses of worship would be allowed to hold indoor gatherings at 25 percent capacity or up to 100 people, whichever is fewer; outdoor services could include up to 150 people as long as social distancing was observed. Casinos on land held by sovereign nations could also reopen, a move the governor, Ned Lamont, had opposed.
In New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy said that over the next several weeks the state would permit child care services to fully open and some summer programs for children to begin operating.
“As more and more workers prepare to get back out to their jobs, we must ensure a continuum of care for their children,” he said.
Jerome H. Powell, the chair of the Federal Reserve, said central bankers had seen the need to use their tools “to their fullest extent” as coronavirus restrictions shuttered economies around the globe and caused United States unemployment to soar.
“We crossed a lot of red lines, that had not been crossed before,” Mr. Powell said in a webinar on Friday. He added that he was comfortable with what the Fed had done, because “this is that situation in which you do that, and you figure it out afterward.”
The Fed cut interest rates to near-zero and rolled out unlimited bond purchases to soothe markets, while setting up emergency lending programs to keep credit flowing to businesses and state governments. Several of those tiptoe into uncharted territory for the central bank, including programs to buy corporate bonds and purchase debt from states and large cities.
But even with that extraordinary support, the Fed chair made it clear that there is uncertainty about what will happen next, acknowledging that “a full recovery of the economy will really depend on people being confident that it’s safe to go out.”
Economists say that the path ahead for the economy is wildly uncertain, as massive questions loom over whether additional virus outbreaks will shutter the economy again, and over whether and when consumers will come back to stores. While a quick “V”-shaped recovery seems unlikely — and an “L” in which growth fails to rebound also seems off the table — what path the rebound will follow is a question mark.
“We’re all prefacing what we say with: We’re not epidemiologists,” said Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. macro strategist at TD Securities.
When experts recommend wearing masks, staying at least six feet away from others, washing your hands frequently and avoiding crowded spaces, what they’re really saying is: Try to minimize the amount of virus you encounter.
A few viral particles cannot make you sick — the immune system would vanquish the intruders before they could. But how much virus is needed for an infection to take root? What is the minimum effective dose?
A precise answer is impossible, because it’s difficult to capture the moment of infection. Scientists are studying ferrets, hamsters and mice for clues but, of course, it wouldn’t be ethical for scientists to expose people to different doses of the virus, as they do with milder cold viruses.
“The truth is, we really just don’t know,” said Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University in New York. “I don’t think we can make anything better than an educated guess.”
So-called super-spreaders seem to be particularly gifted in transmitting the virus, although it’s unclear whether that’s because of their biology or their behavior.
On the receiving end, the shape of a person’s nostrils and the amount of nose hair and mucus present — as well as the distribution of certain cellular receptors in the airway that the virus needs to latch on to — can all influence how much virus it takes to become infected.
The crucial dose may also vary depending on whether it’s ingested or inhaled.
But the virus’s uncertainties will weigh on American employers as they contemplate sweeping new recommendations from the C.D.C. on the safest ways to reopen their offices.
The recommendations include temperature and symptom checks for arriving employees; keeping desks six feet apart; and the wearing of face coverings at all times.
If followed, the guidelines would lead to a far-reaching remaking of the corporate work experience. They even upend years of advice on commuting, urging people to drive to work by themselves, instead of taking mass transportation or car-pooling, to avoid potential exposure to the virus.
Athletes tend to view themselves as perhaps better equipped than the general population to avoid the worst consequences of the disease.
Yet interviews with athletes who have contracted it — from professionals to college athletes to weekend hobbyists — revealed their surprise at the potency of its symptoms, struggles to reestablish workout regimens, lingering battles with lung issues and muscle weakness, and unsettling bouts of anxiety about whether they would be able to match their physical peaks.
“It definitely shook me up a bit — it was very surreal, you know?” Von Miller, a linebacker for the Denver Broncos who contracted the virus, said in an interview.
Panagis Galiatsatos, a pulmonary physician and assistant professor at Johns Hopkins, singled out three complications from Covid-19 that could be of particular concern to athletes.
First, coronavirus patients, like anyone with a serious respiratory infection, were at risk for long-term lung issues. He also considered the high incidence of blood clots seen as potentially troubling for athletes because people diagnosed with blood clots, and prescribed blood thinners, are typically discouraged from participating in contact sports.
Finally, Dr. Galiatsatos said patients placed on ventilators and confined to a bed often lost between 2 and 10 percent of their muscle mass per day.
In an open letter addressed to The Lancet’s editor, Richard Horton, and the paper’s authors, they asked the journal to provide details about the provenance of the data and called for the study to be independently validated by the World Health Organization or another institution.
Use of the malaria drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to prevent and treat Covid-19 has been a focus of intense public attention. Mr. Trump has promoted hydroxychloroquine despite the absence of gold standard evidence from randomized clinical trials to prove its effectiveness, and he recently said he had taken the drug himself in hopes of preventing a virus infection.
The experts who wrote the letter to The Lancet also criticized the study’s methodology and the authors’ refusal to disclose information on the hospitals that contributed their data, or even to name the countries where they were located. The company that owns the database is Surgisphere.
“Data from Africa indicate that nearly 25 percent of all Covid-19 cases and 40 percent of all deaths in the continent occurred in Surgisphere-associated hospitals which had sophisticated electronic patient data recording,” the scientists wrote. “Both the numbers of cases and deaths, and the detailed data collection, seem unlikely.”
A spokeswoman for The Lancet, Emily Head, said in an email that the journal had received numerous inquiries about the paper, and had referred the questions to the authors. “We will provide further updates as necessary,” she said.
Dr. Sapan S. Desai, the owner of Surgisphere and one of the paper’s authors, said in a statement that the database was an aggregation of the anonymous electronic health records of hospitals that are customers of QuartzClinical, a machine learning and analytics company. He also said that contractual agreements with the hospitals bar the sharing of patient-level data, though it is available to qualified scientists for research purposes.
“Our strong privacy standards are a major reason that hospitals trust Surgisphere and we have been able to collect data from over 1,200 institutions across 46 countries,” the statement said.
As restrictions eased across the country, new measures were issued and under consideration in some cities and states where protests were growing over the killing of George Floyd, a black man who died in Minneapolis after a white police officer held his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck for about nine minutes.
The Minnesota authorities said Friday afternoon that the officer, Derek Chauvin, who was fired after the episode, had been arrested and charged with third-degree murder.
Earlier, large crowds of demonstrators had gathered against the backdrop of a pandemic that had kept many residents from engaging with one another directly for months. Last week, Dr. Deborah L. Birx, the White House virus response coordinator, said that Minneapolis was considered a hot spot for virus cases.
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Reporting was contributed by Mike Baker, Karen Barrow, Alan Blinder, Julie Bosman, Ben Casselman, Emily Cochrane, Andrew Das, Nicholas Fandos, Dana Goldstein, Jenny Gross, Maggie Haberman, Astead W. Herndon, Andrew Jacobs, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Annie Karni, Andrew Keh, Apoorva Mandavilli, Donald G. McNeil, Jr., Andy Newman, Sona Patel, Roni Caryn Rabin, Matt Richtel, Katie Rogers, Dagny Salas, Marc Santora and Eileen Sullivan.