With New York’s eviction moratorium about to expire, the State Legislature will reconvene for an extraordinary session on Wednesday to extend the pandemic-era ban on evictions, a move that would protect tens of thousands of tenants.
In a rare move, Gov. Kathy C. Hochul called state lawmakers back to Albany to consider extending the statewide moratorium, which expired on Tuesday, to as far as mid-January, according to four people familiar with the matter. Lawmakers are also expected to modify the moratorium so that it complies with a Supreme Court ruling that blocked a significant provision of the state’s moratorium two weeks ago.
The legislative action will come less than a week after the Supreme Court rejected the Biden administration’s federal moratorium on evictions, heightening the significance of the state-level safeguards for renters in New York.
“We’re not going to exacerbate what is already a crisis in terms of the homelessness problem,” Ms. Hochul said on Tuesday evening during an address from the State Capitol. “We are not going to allow people who through no fault of their own lost income, were not able to pay and are facing eviction.”
Democratic lawmakers were still finalizing the legislation but they said it would address the court’s ruling by adjusting the moratorium so that landlords have a mechanism to contest hardship claims in court.
The Supreme Court ruling two weeks ago effectively cleared the way for thousands of eviction cases to move forward. It blocked a key section of the state law that barred evictions from proceeding if the tenants submitted forms declaring that they had experienced economic hardship because of the pandemic.
The court sided with landlords who argued that they had no way of challenging a tenant’s hardship declaration, putting hundreds of thousands of tenants at risk of losing shelter. The ruling came as the Biden administration has struggled to speed billions of dollars in federal funding to people who are behind in rent because of the pandemic and its economic fallout.
Extending the moratorium in New York would protect the about 800,000 households in the state that are behind on rent, most of them low-income people and people of color, according to one analysis of census data from late June and early July.
But it will also give the state more time to speed up the distribution of $2.7 billion in stalled federal aid that is meant to help struggling tenants stay in their homes. Tenant groups, landlords, Democrats and even many Republicans, say that an extension of the moratorium is futile if the outstanding rent relief money isn’t quickly disbursed.
Unvaccinated people should avoid traveling during the Labor Day holiday, the director of the C.D.C said.
As Covid hospitalizations reached a daily average of 100,000 for the first time since last winter’s surge, Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, identified vaccination and masking as key factors in preventing the spread of the virus.
“First and foremost, if you are unvaccinated, we would recommend not traveling,” she said on Tuesday. Labor Day, which celebrates American workers with a three-day weekend and is the unofficial end of summer, is often observed with barbecues and gatherings for family and friends.
This year, the strong spread of the Delta variant makes decisions about those traditions more complicated. Cases, hospitalizations and deaths are all rising in the United States.
About 52 percent of the U.S. population, or 174 million people, is fully vaccinated, according to C.D.C. data. Among those who are over 12 years old and are eligible for the vaccine, 72.2 percent of the population, or 205 million people have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
Dr. Walensky said that gatherings — among vaccinated relatives and friends — should take place outdoors. And everyone, including those who are vaccinated, should wear masks in public indoor settings.
“Throughout the pandemic, we have seen that the vast majority of transmission takes place among unvaccinated people in closed, indoor settings,” she said.
While health officials have said that those who are fully vaccinated and wearing masks can travel, Dr. Walensky said that everyone should assess their own risk tolerance, in light of the surges in the virus.
Even though many Americans changed their Thanksgiving plans last year, a spike in Covid transmissions, hospitalizations and deaths in some areas of California and Texas were attributed partly to those gatherings that did happen.
AUCKLAND, New Zealand — When New Zealand, for the first time in months, reported a case of community spread of the coronavirus on Aug. 17, residents sprang into action. They stripped supermarket shelves of pasta and toilet paper, dug socked-away masks out of drawers and fled to vacation homes in the mountains or at the beach.
Hours later came the expected announcement: The country, after that single case of the Delta variant, would plunge into a highly restrictive three-day lockdown. New Zealand, one of the last countries to still pursue “Covid zero,” would aim to eliminate the virus once again, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at a news conference that day.
“While we know that Delta is a more dangerous enemy to combat,” she said, “the same actions that overcame the virus last year can be applied to beat it.”
Two weeks later, New Zealand is still in lockdown, one that will last at least another 14 days. One case has become nearly 700, with almost three dozen requiring hospitalization. And the familiar playbook that has made New Zealand an envied model throughout the pandemic is struggling to contain a much more contagious variant of the virus.
“The challenge is eliminating Delta,” said Rodney Jones, an adviser to the New Zealand government on the pandemic. “No country has eliminated Delta.”
For now, New Zealand appears nearly unified behind the effort to try, with lockdown compliance high and faith in public health officials strong. But Ms. Ardern and other leaders have begun to acknowledge that New Zealand may eventually have to change course as the virus continues to spread — 75 new cases were reported on Wednesday, up from around 50 each of the two previous days — and its vaccination campaign lags. That would mean tolerating some spread of the virus to keep society more open, a strategy pursued to varying degrees in almost every developed country.
PHOENIX — Only weeks after Arizona’s students went back to school, coronavirus infections are forcing thousands of children and teachers into quarantine. School outbreaks around Phoenix are surging. In one suburban district, so many drivers are sick that school buses are running 90 minutes late.
All this in a state that ignored C.D.C. recommendations and banned school mask mandates weeks before classes resumed.
Now the back-to-school turmoil has cascaded far beyond Arizona’s classrooms, igniting a political uproar for Gov. Doug Ducey and other Republican leaders in this fast-changing desert battleground. The tumult underscores the perilous decisions facing governors in swing states where voters are divided over Covid-19 safety measures and personal freedoms.
Mr. Ducey, a business-minded Republican, spent much of the past year getting attacked by conservatives angry about pandemic restrictions and his defense of the 2020 election results. But he has since doubled down on anti-mask-mandate measures passed by Arizona’s Republican-run Legislature.
He pledged to withhold millions of dollars in federal pandemic relief from schools that pass mask mandates in defiance of a state law that takes effect at the end of September. He offered $7,000 vouchers to families who opt to leave districts that require face coverings. Masking decisions, he said, belonged to parents, not school officials.
“In Arizona we are pro-parent,” Mr. Ducey said at a recent news conference. “I want parents to do what they think is the right thing to do.”
Mr. Ducey had kept a lower profile throughout much of the pandemic compared with the Republican governors of Florida, South Dakota and Texas, who built national reputations as combative opponents of Covid restrictions.
But as he looks to his political future after he leaves office next year because of term limits, Mr. Ducey is moving to the front of the volatile new battle over personal freedoms, children’s health and the politicization of pandemic relief money.
At least 180 coronavirus infections in three states have been traced to an Illinois church camp for teenagers and an affiliated men’s conference that did not require attendees to be vaccinated or tested for the virus, according to an investigation published on Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
There have been no deaths linked to the outbreak, but five of those infected required hospitalization, according to the C.D.C., which noted that all of those hospitalized were unvaccinated. Roughly 1,000 people in four states were ultimately exposed to the virus by people who attended the two events, which took place in mid-June.
The report, which expands on an earlier investigation by the Illinois Department of Public Health, highlights the perils of ignoring established safety guidelines for summer camps, business meetings and religious gatherings during a pandemic that continues to pummel the United States.
And with the Delta variant causing significant spikes in infections across many states, some public health officials have expressed concerns about large Labor Day gatherings that do not include masks, or gate-keeping measures for admission, like testing or proof of vaccination.
Sarah Patrick, the acting epidemiologist for the state of Illinois, said the outbreak illustrated the role that children can play in transmission of the virus — and the importance of ensuring they are included in efforts to curb its spread.
“We’ve learned that kids, who some had thought might not be able to easily spread disease between each other, can actually be the fire starter that increases transmission beyond their immediate contacts and into the community,” she said.
In the report, more than 120 of those infected were camp and conference attendees, and most of the others were members of their immediate households, researchers said. Twenty-nine of the 180 people infected were fully vaccinated against Covid-19, which is also known among epidemiologists as SARS-CoV-2.
“This investigation underscores the impact of secondary SARS-CoV-2 transmission during large events such as camps and conferences when Covid-19 prevention strategies, including vaccination, masking, physical distancing, and screening testing, are not implemented,” the C.D.C.’s report concluded.
Over the summer, as the highly contagious Delta variant spread, there were outbreaks at youth camps across the country. In New York, 550 campers tested positive for coronavirus during sleep-away camp in July. In Texas, over 125 teenagers and adults tested positive at a church-run camp after an indoor event. Kansas’ health department also reported multiple outbreaks tied to camps in and around the state.
Youth camps that have embraced testing and masks for attendees — and contact tracing and isolation for the infected — have fared much better than those that have taken a more laissez-faire approach, according to a number of studies.
The Crossing, a nondenominational Christian group that organized the five-day youth camp and a two-day men’s conference, did not ask participants to be vaccinated or tested, nor did it require mask wearing during the gatherings.
The “What to Bring” page of camp’s website includes water shoes, sleeping bags and the Bible, but makes no mention of masks. Campers were between 14 and 18 years old, making them eligible for the vaccines.
The phone number listed on the website for Crossing Camp was disconnected on Tuesday. Email and voice mail messages left by a reporter seeking comment at the church’s main office in Quincy, Ill., were not immediately returned.
The coronavirus continues to batter India’s damaged economy, putting growing pressure on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to nurture a nascent recovery and get the country back to work.
Infections and deaths have eased, and the country is returning to work. Economists predict that growth could surge in the second half of the year on paper. But, still, the damage could take years to undo. Economic output was 9.2 percent lower for the April-through-June period this year than what it was for the same period in 2019, according to India Ratings, a credit ratings agency.
Just 11 percent of the population is fully inoculated, and economists are particularly concerned that the slow rate of vaccinations could lead to a third wave of the coronavirus, which could prove to be disastrous for any economic recovery.
Since the start of the pandemic, about 10 million people have lost salaried jobs, which are difficult to get back, said Mahesh Vyas, the chief executive of the Center for Monitoring Indian Economy. At least 3.2 million Indians lost stable, well-paying salaried jobs in July alone.
Mr. Modi’s government moved this month to rekindle the economy by selling stakes worth close to $81 billion in state-owned assets like airports, railway stations and stadiums. But economists largely see the policy as a move to generate cash in the short term.
Economists say that India needs to splurge to unlock the full potential of its huge low-skilled work force. “There is a need for very simple primary health facilities, primary services to deliver nutrition to children,” Mr. Vyas said. “All these are highly labor-intensive jobs, and these are government services largely.”
Throughout India’s second wave, core infrastructure projects across the country, which employ millions of domestic migrant workers, were exempted from restrictions and helped bolster the economy.
The “only solution,” Mr. Vyas said, is for the government to spend and incite private investment. “You have a demotivated private sector because there isn’t enough demand. That’s what’s holding India back.”
In other news from around the globe:
Thailand allowed shopping malls in Bangkok to reopen on Wednesday and restaurants to operate at half capacity, Reuters reported. The moves come after nearly three months of tough restrictions aimed at containing the country’s worst coronavirus outbreak. The number of infections started falling in the middle of August, and the government is under pressure to ease lockdown measures because of the impact on the economy. On Wednesday, the health ministry reported 14,802 new cases and 252 additional deaths. Thailand has reported a total of 1.2 million cases and 11,841 fatalities.
On Monday, the European Union removed the United States from its “safe list” of countries whose residents can travel to its 27 member states without requirements such as quarantine and testing.
As of Tuesday, at least one country had put new restrictions on travelers depending on their vaccination status: Italy said it would require unvaccinated travelers to quarantine for five days; vaccinated travelers must take a test for the coronavirus before entering.
Here’s a look at what the developments mean for vaccinated and unvaccinated people:
What just happened? How will this change my trip to Europe?
Since June, the United States has been on the European Union’s “safe list” for travel, which cleared the way for American travelers to visit many E.U. member countries without quarantining.
In addition to taking the United States off the safe list on Monday, the European Council, the European Union’s governing body, released a recommendation urging member countries to issue travel restrictions for visitors from the United States who are unvaccinated against the coronavirus.
The European Union is encouraging authorities across Europe to reinstate the sort of mandatory quarantine and testing requirements that seemed to be on their way out, though primarily for unvaccinated travelers. It’s up to each country to decide if it wants to issue new requirements.
How does this affect vaccinated travelers?
The first notable changes were announced Tuesday, by Italy. Even if visitors are vaccinated, they must now obtain a negative coronavirus test 72 hours before arrival.
In general, though, if you are fully vaccinated with an E.U.-approved vaccine, which include those manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson, the requirements you face entering an E.U. country are unlikely to change significantly.
Many member states have already been urging travelers to bring proof of vaccination and waiving quarantine requirements for those who can show proof of vaccination.
What about unvaccinated travelers?
Under Italy’s newly announced policy, unvaccinated American travelers will now have to “self-isolate” for five days upon arrival in the country according to the Italian National Tourist Board.
Previously, unvaccinated visitors from the United States needed to take a coronavirus test 48 hours before touching down in Italy, but they did not have to quarantine.
A New Jersey woman who used the Instagram handle @AntiVaxMomma was charged in a conspiracy to sell hundreds of fake coronavirus vaccination cards over the social media platform, Manhattan prosecutors said on Tuesday.
The allegations against the woman, Jasmine Clifford, 31, were unveiled in Manhattan criminal court. Prosecutors said that Ms. Clifford sold about 250 forged cards over Instagram.
She also worked with another woman, Nadayza Barkley, 27, who is employed at a medical clinic in Patchogue, N.Y., to fraudulently enter at least 10 people into New York’s immunization database, prosecutors said.
There was a warrant out for Ms. Clifford’s arrest, but she did not appear in the courtroom on Tuesday. She is expected to be charged with two felonies related to the scheme, in addition to the conspiracy charge, which is a misdemeanor.
Ms. Barkley, who did appear in court, was charged with a felony, as were 13 people who purchased the cards, some of whom worked in hospitals and nursing homes. Lawyers for Ms. Clifford and Ms. Barkley could not immediately be reached for comment.
With only about 52 percent of the country fully vaccinated and a significant minority of Americans skeptical of the vaccines, forged cards are offered up on messaging services like Telegram and WhatsApp, as well as social media platforms like Instagram. Counterfeits have been spotted for sale on Amazon and Etsy.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection said this month that its officers in Memphis had seized more than 3,000 forged cards in 2021 so far. Earlier this year, the National Association of Attorneys General sent a letter to the heads of Twitter, Shopify and eBay asking that they take immediate action to halt the sale of the fake cards on their websites.
Beginning in May, prosecutors said, Ms. Clifford, who described herself online as an entrepreneur and the operator of multiple businesses, began advertising forged vaccination cards through her Instagram account.
She charged $200 for the falsified cards, prosecutors said. For $250 more, Ms. Barkley would enter a customer’s name into New York’s official immunization database, enabling him or her to obtain the state’s Excelsior Pass, a digital certificate of vaccination.
Cyrus R. Vance Jr., the Manhattan district attorney, released a statement that called on Facebook, Instagram’s parent company, to crack down on fraud.
“We will continue to safeguard public health in New York with proactive investigations like these, but the stakes are too high to tackle fake vaccination cards with whack-a-mole prosecutions,” Mr. Vance said. “Making, selling, and purchasing forged vaccination cards are serious crimes with serious public safety consequences.”
A spokesman for Facebook said the platform prohibited anyone from buying or selling vaccine cards, that it had removed Ms. Clifford’s account at the beginning of August, and that it would review any other accounts that might be doing the same thing, removing any it turned up.
A popular TikTok user whose handle is @Tizzyent highlighted Ms. Clifford’s scheme in a viral video this month. A spokeswoman for the Manhattan district attorney’s office said that the video had not led to the charges against Ms. Clifford and the others, and court documents indicated that Ms. Clifford had been under investigation since June.
The charges against Ms. Clifford and her collaborators underscore a black-market industry for counterfeit vaccination cards that has come roaring into existence this year.
Earlier this month, New York City announced that it would begin to require that workers and customers at indoor restaurants, gyms and performances have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine.
Pennsylvania’s governor said on Tuesday his administration was imposing a statewide mask requirement in all schools, becoming the latest governor to embrace a politically charged but federally recommended precaution.
Masks will be required for teachers, staff and visitors in public and private schools, early learning programs and child care centers in Pennsylvania beginning Sept. 7. The mandate was imposed by order of the state’s acting secretary of health, Alison Beam, who appeared at a news conference with Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat.
“Wearing a mask in school is necessary to keep our children in the classroom, and to keep Covid out,” Mr. Wolf said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended masking for everyone inside a school, regardless of vaccination status, as a way to keep students safe for in-person schooling. Extra safety measures are especially important in schools because no coronavirus vaccine has been federally authorized for children younger than 12, federal health officials have said.
Republican politicians around the country contend that imposing mask requirements infringes on individual liberties, and many states with Republican governors, notably Florida and Texas, have fought mask mandates by school districts and localities.
Some districts have instituted mask mandates anyway, leading to legal battles. The U.S. Department of Education announced on Monday that it was beginning an investigation into whether bans on mask mandates in five states violated civil rights laws that protect disabled students.
States with Democratic governors, including California, New York and Louisiana, have adopted universal mask mandates in schools, as has the Republican governor in Massachusetts. Data collected by The New York Times indicate that Pennsylvania is the 16th state to order a statewide school mask mandate.
Pennsylvania is faring better than many states during the latest wave of infections, but the state has still seen significant increases in reported cases, hospitalizations and deaths, according to data collected by The Times.
Mr. Wolf, a Democratic governor who must work with a Republican-controlled legislature, said earlier this summer that he thought it was best for school districts to choose their own measures to protect students and staff.
But on Tuesday Mr. Wolf said that the rapid spread of the Delta variant, many requests from his constituents and a spike in cases, particularly among children, had changed his mind.
That reversal was not acceptable to the Pennsylvania Senate’s president pro tempore, Jake Corman, a Republican, who said “it is completely disingenuous for him to flip-flop now when he didn’t like the choices school districts made” in a statement on Tuesday.
“Our position throughout the pandemic has been consistent — we believe in local control,” Mr. Corman added. “School districts are best suited to make the decisions regarding the health and safety of students, and they should be empowered to make those choices.”
Mr. Wolf said that protecting people in schools was more important.
“We need to put politics aside,” Mr. Wolf said. “We need to get back to what matters: Keeping students safe, and keeping students in the classroom.”
Kenny Malone, a prolific Nashville session drummer whose skittering snare rhythms haunted Dolly Parton’s No. 1 country hit “Jolene” in 1973 and whose cocktail-jazz groove anchored Crystal Gayle’s crossover smash “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue” in 1977, died on Thursday from Covid-19. He was 83.
A versatile and imaginative percussionist, Mr. Malone played on recordings by scores of country, folk, pop and rock artists, including John Prine and Charley Pride (both of whom also died of complications of Covid-19) as well as Alison Krauss, Guy Clark, Kenny Rogers, Ray Charles, Emmylou Harris, Waylon Jennings and Bela Fleck, among many others.
Something of a mystic, Mr. Malone heard music everywhere, and exulted in it. “Music is in everything, not just the instruments we play,” he told Modern Drummer. “The way that chords, melody and rhythm work together mirrors our emotions. Everything we hear forms a visual image or an attitude of a place, a time or an environment.”
Mr. Malone started playing the drums at age 5. “The day I decided I wanted to be a drummer was the day I heard Dixieland music,” he said in “Rhythm Makers: The Drumming Legends of Nashville in Their Own Words.” “I think it was the Firehouse Five back in, like, 1943. My mom and dad got me a drum for Christmas. That started everything.”