More than 75,000 cases of the coronavirus were announced in the United States on Thursday, the second-highest daily total nationwide since the pandemic began. Eight states set single-day case records, and 13 states have added more cases in the past week than in any other seven-day stretch.
The bleak numbers came as President Trump declared at the final presidential debate on Thursday that, despite evidence, the virus was “going away,” while his challenger, Joseph R. Biden Jr., warned of a “dark winter” ahead that required aggressive federal action.
When Mr. Trump said “we’re learning to live with” the coronavirus, Mr. Biden shot back, “we’re learning to die with it.”
The Midwest and the Rocky Mountains are struggling to contain major outbreaks, while new hot spots are emerging in other parts of the country. Officials in Kentucky announced more than 1,470 cases on Thursday, the biggest one-day jump in that state. And more than 1,300 cases were recorded in Colorado, setting another single-day record. In Chicago, which officials said is averaging 645 new cases a day this week, a nighttime curfew will be imposed on businesses starting on Friday.
The country almost surpassed its record in mid-July, when over 77,000 infections were recorded in one day. As of Friday morning, more than 8.4 million people in the country have been infected with the coronavirus and at least 223,000 have died, according to a New York Times database.
The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday that it had formally approved remdesivir as the first drug to treat Covid-19, the diseased caused by the coronavirus. The antiviral drug had been approved for adults and patients 12 years of age and older, and weighing at least 40 kilograms, for Covid-19 treatments requiring hospitalization, the F.D.A. said. The approval comes less than two weeks before the presidential election. Mr. Trump has been pushing for a vaccine to be approved before the Nov. 3 vote.
President Trump and Joseph R. Biden Jr. delivered starkly divergent closing arguments to the country in the final presidential debate on Thursday, offering opposite prognoses for a range of issues, including the coronavirus pandemic.
The debate was, on the whole, a more restrained affair than the first encounter between the two candidates last month, when Mr. Trump harangued Mr. Biden for most of an hour and a half and effectively short-circuited any policy debate. But if the tenor of Thursday’s forum was more sedate, the conflict in matters of substance and vision could not have been more dramatic.
From the opening minutes, the two candidates took opposing stances on the pandemic, with Mr. Trump promising, in defiance of evidence, that the disease was “going away” while Mr. Biden called for much more aggressive federal action for the “dark winter” ahead.
Mr. Trump, who badgered Mr. Biden with increasing aggression over the course of the debate, appeared determined to cast his opponent as a career politician who was, as he jabbed toward the end of the debate, “all talk and no action.”
Mr. Trump, however, did little to lay out an affirmative case for his own re-election, or to explain in clear terms what he would hope to do with another four years in the White House. He frequently misrepresented the facts of his own record, and Mr. Biden’s. And on his most important political vulnerability — his mismanagement of the pandemic — Mr. Trump hewed unswervingly to a message that happy days are nearly here again, even as polls show that a majority of voters believe the worst of the coronavirus crisis is still ahead.
Mr. Biden, for his part, stuck to the core of the argument that has propelled his campaign from the start, denouncing Mr. Trump as a divisive and unethical leader who has botched the federal response to a devastating public-health crisis. Though Mr. Trump pushed him onto the defensive repeatedly, the former vice president also laid out a fuller version of his own policy agenda than he managed in the first debate, calling for large-scale economic stimulus spending, new aid to states battling the pandemic and a muscular expansion of health care and worker benefits nationwide.
As parts of Europe have been hit with a second wave of the coronavirus in recent weeks, hospitals are scrambling to prepare for an onrush of Covid-19 patients at a time when bed and intensive care capacity will already be under strain during the winter flu season.
Poland has turned its largest stadium into an emergency field hospital. In Belgium and Britain, the numbers of Covid-19 patients have doubled in two weeks. And in the Czech Republic, doctors and nurses are falling ill at an alarming rate.
Europe’s current wave of infection is due in part to the relative normalcy it experienced this summer. Unlike in the United States, where the epidemic rose to a second peak in July and a third peak this month, travelers moved around Europe, college students returned to campus and many large gatherings resumed, all while the virus kept spreading.
Data released Thursday shows that the pandemic’s grip on Europe is still dangerous, and measures to control the spread of the virus over the next few weeks will be crucial in preventing hospitals from becoming overrun for a second time this year.
More than 214,000 coronavirus cases have been identified at U.S. colleges this year, according to a New York Times survey that showed universities continuing to struggle to control major outbreaks. More than 35,000 cases of those cases have been identified since early October.
Though some colleges moved all their fall classes online, many campuses remained open even as positive tests accumulated by the hundreds or thousands. Of more than 1,700 institutions surveyed by The Times, more than 50 reported at least 1,000 cases over the course of the pandemic. More than 375 colleges have reported at least 100 cases.
The 214,000 cases at colleges account for 2.5 percent of all known cases in the United States. And that figure is an undercount because some colleges have refused to provide any case data or have stopped giving updates.
Large public institutions in the South and Midwest reported the highest case totals, including seven campuses where there have been more than 3,000 cases.
The virus has disrupted every sector of higher education, forcing quarantines and canceling plans at schools large and small, public and private.
In Ohio, the College of Wooster moved all classes online for the rest of the fall after dozens of cases emerged, including several tied to social events. The University of New Mexico canceled its season-opening football game with Colorado State because of spiking case numbers in the Albuquerque area. And at the University of Michigan, where more than 600 people have tested positive, undergraduates were told to remain in their homes for two weeks except when attending class, eating or working.
“The situation locally has become critical, and this order is necessary to reverse the current increase in cases,” Jimena Loveluck, the Washtenaw County health officer, said in announcing the stay-in-place order at the University of Michigan.
The first time the police came to the Body Tech Fitness gym in Liverpool, England, it was with a polite warning. But four hours later they were back, and this time in force.
As lunchtime gymgoers worked out, about half a dozen officers, some with Tasers, ordered the closure of the fitness center, which had been deemed in breach of England’s toughest coronavirus restrictions.
But even a show of strength like that doesn’t always work — particularly not in a city like Liverpool. While the main entrance was closed, the gym kept a discreet side door open for members to come in and work out.
But on Friday, in a head-snapping turn of events, the gym will operate legally for the first time in nine days, having forced the authorities into an unlikely retreat.
The Body Tech Fitness saga, with its combination of opaque rule-making, inconsistent enforcement and, ultimately, reversal, is in many ways emblematic of the British government’s overall performance since the outbreak of the coronavirus. Its handling of the pandemic has been in turns hesitant, halting, confused, secretive and contradictory.
That has generated confusion and distrust, along with growing resistance, to the diktats from Westminster. And if there was one place that was not going to suffer quietly, local people say, it was Liverpool, which finds itself in the highest tier of restrictions.
“Historically, we have shown that we are not going to lie down when something is unfair,” said Nick Whitcombe, 29, the owner of the gym, as he celebrated a victory achieved through concerted lobbying of politicians and slick outreach to the media.
The system has left many frustrated and confused, even as they acknowledge the gravity of the worsening health situation in Liverpool.
In other developments around the world:
More than 170 Australians stranded in Britain will return home on Friday on a government-chartered repatriation flight. Upon arrival, they will be transferred to an isolation facility to quarantine for 14 days. The flight is the first of eight that will bring back up to 1,315 Australians from Britain, India and South Africa. More than 30,000 Australians are stranded abroad. Many have been trying to return for months but have faced difficulties because of caps on international arrivals imposed by the government.
Two senior Palestine Liberation Organization officials tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday, as the virus spread among the Ramallah-based Palestinian leadership. Azzam al-Ahmad and Ahmad Majdalani, members of the P.L.O. Executive Committee, tested positive before a meeting with Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, who is in his 80s, Mr. Majdalani said. Mr. al-Ahmad, in his 70s, and Mr. Majdalani, in his 60s, entered self-quarantine after receiving the results and did not attend the meeting with Mr. Abbas. Saeb Erekat and Hanan Ashrawi, two other members of the executive committee, also tested positive for the virus this month. Mr. Erekat, who was hospitalized in Jerusalem on Sunday, is on a ventilator and is in critical but stable condition, according to the hospital.
Residents of Belgium will not be able to attend sporting events, theme parks will be closed, and cultural events will be limited to 200 people, the prime minister, Alexander de Croo, announced at a news conference on Friday. The measures will be re-examined Nov. 19. The restrictions come a week after Belgium shut all restaurants, bars, and cafes, and limited close social contacts to one person outside a household.
In today’s edition of the Morning newsletter, David Leonhardt writes:
The coronavirus is spreading more rapidly in rural areas of the U.S. than in urban areas. But one rural state continues to do a fabulous job keeping the virus away: Vermont.
The starkest sign of Vermont’s success is that it has not recorded a single Covid-19 death in more than two months.
Vermont is succeeding partly because it has not allowed the virus to become a partisan issue. The Republican governor, Phil Scott — unlike many other Republican politicians around the country — has consistently told people to take the virus seriously. “He started wearing a mask early in the pandemic and has stood at the back of the room in many of the state’s coronavirus briefings, letting Dr. Mark Levine, Vermont’s answer to Dr. Anthony Fauci, dominate proceedings,” Bill McKibben, a Vermont resident, wrote in The New Yorker.
Vermont also benefits from having a high degree of social trust among its residents, as Maria Sacchetti explained in The Washington Post. And Vermont has two strong local media organizations — VTDigger and Seven Days — that keep residents informed and that both took an intriguing step early in the pandemic, McKibben notes: They shut down their comments sections, to prevent misinformation from spreading.
North Korea urged its people to stay indoors this weekend with their windows shut because “yellow-dust” storms blowing in from China may help spread the coronavirus.
Yellow dust storms have been a recurring curse for Koreans for years, with many people complaining of burning eyes and sore throats and resorting to wearing masks when going outside. But the North’s main state-run newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, said on Thursday that North Koreans should be more vigilant this year.
“Given the fact that the coronavirus continues to spread around the world and given data suggesting that malicious viruses may spread through air, we need to deal with yellow dust with more vigilance and thorough countermeasures,” the newspaper said.
It urged North Koreans to refrain from leaving homes or traveling, to wear masks and to keep their windows shut.
In South Korea, where people also guard against yellow dust, health officials did not suggest a link between the dust and the virus.
The subject of airborne transmission of the virus has been fraught. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that the coronavirus is most often spread through close contact, not airborne transmissions. “There is no evidence of efficient spread (i.e., routine, rapid spread) to people far away or who enter a space hours after an infectious person was there,” the agency says.
But North Korea has taken more aggressive measures against the virus than most other countries, shutting down its borders since January. In February, it said it was studying water samples from rivers, streams and lakes because it was hard to predict how the virus spread. The C.D.C. says it is not aware of any scientific reports of the virus spreading to people through lakes, oceans or rivers.
North Korea claims it has not found any cases of coronavirus in the country, though outside experts remain skeptical.
When the pandemic first hit Italy and masks became scarce, Myss Keta, the mysterious Queen of the Milan Night, came to the rescue. The Italian rapper, performance artist and L.G.B.T.Q. icon had amassed a vast collection of face coverings that she wore for years to hide her identity. So she began distributing them to her friends in need.
“I had so many,” she said. “Surgical, cloth, vinyl, silk, whatever material.”
This month, with a second wave of the coronavirus rising and Italy requiring the wearing of masks in public at all times, grandparents, politicians, middle-management businesspeople, doctors, lawyers, delivery people — just about everyone — is covering up. That has rendered Myss Keta — whose use of masks took her from underground clubs to the cusp of national, if incognito, celebrity — an improbable authority on life behind the surgical veil.
It has also threatened to strip her of her defining shtick.
“Before, it was a distinguishing characteristic. Now, it’s something we all have in common,” she said as she lifted a black surgical mask — the casual black T-shirt of her vast collection — to sip a Bloody Mary at Bar Basso in Milan. Under her trademark blond bangs, her eyes remained covered as usual in dark Givenchy sunglasses.
It used to be only the front-row fans at her concerts who emulated her by wearing masks. “Now, everyone seems like a Myss fan,” she said.
Reporting was contributed by Michael Levenson, Sheila Kaplan and Gina Kolata.