As the C.D.C. recommends workplace changes, millions of the unemployed have more immediate concerns.
Upon arriving at work, employees should get a temperature and symptom check.
Inside the office, desks should be six feet apart. If that isn’t possible, employers should consider erecting plastic shields around them.
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.
The multitrillion-dollar patchwork of federal and state programs hasn’t kept bills from piling up or prevented long lines at food banks. But it has mitigated the damage. Now the expiration of those programs represents a cliff that individuals and the economy are hurtling toward.
The $1,200 checks sent to most households are long gone, at least for those who needed them most, with little imminent prospect for a second round. The lending program that helped millions of small businesses keep workers on the payroll will wind down if Congress does not extend it. Eviction moratoriums that are keeping people in their homes are expiring in many cities.
And the $600 per week in extra unemployment benefits that has allowed tens of millions of laid-off workers to pay rent and buy groceries will expire at the end of July.
The most basic way to track the progress of any outbreak is by seeing how many new cases and deaths are reported in a given area each day. And in the United States, falling numbers in some of the hardest-hit places are encouraging. Totals for the country have been on a downward curve, and in former hot spots like New York and New Jersey, the counts appear to have peaked.
But infections and deaths are rising in more than a dozen states, an ominous sign that the pandemic may be entering a new phase.
In metropolitan areas like Fayetteville, Ark.; Yuma, Ariz.; and Roanoke and Charlottesville, Va., data show new highs may be only days or weeks away.
Outbreaks have accelerated especially sharply in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Peru, leading the World Health Organization to say on Tuesday that it considered the Americas to be the new center of the pandemic.
And although much of the Middle East seemed to avert early catastrophe even as the virus ravaged Iran, case counts have been swelling in Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
That is why Wisconsin is being closely monitored. Two weeks ago, the conservative majority on the State Supreme Court overturned that state’s stay-at-home order, effectively removing the most serious restrictions on residents.
It can take several weeks after changes in behavior — like the increased movement and interactions associated with the end of a stay-at-home order — for the effect on transmissions to be reflected in the data. In Wisconsin, there were indications that the virus was still spreading before the order was lifted. But in the weeks since restrictions were overturned, the case numbers have continued to grow.
“It worries us,” said Dr. Nasia Safdar, the medical director for infection prevention at the University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison. “We wonder if this is a trend in an unfavorable direction.”
Washington State, which has been battling a deluge of fraudulent unemployment claims, has managed to claw back some $300 million in payments that went out to fraudsters, officials said Thursday.
Suzi LeVine, the commissioner of Washington State’s Employment Security Department, said the recovery came from coordination among law enforcement agencies and financial institutions. She did not reveal exact numbers on recoveries or the total number of fraudulent claims and said that the state was continuing to work on additional collections while blocking more false claims.
“The criminals have not gone away because we continue to see significant highly suspicious traffic,” Ms. LeVine said.
The Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance said in a statement that it had also seen fraudsters trying to file large numbers of illegitimate claims, while the cybersecurity firm Agari said it had seen evidence of the fraudulent claims targeting states all over the country.
Unemployment claims around the country have exceeded 40 million since the start of the pandemic.
With the weather getting warmer and New Yorkers getting antsier, the New York City Council introduced legislation on Thursday afternoon that would push Mayor Bill de Blasio to open streets and other public areas to outdoor dining.
The legislation, backed by the restaurant industry, would also require the city to set health and safety requirements for such operations.
“Our hope is there may be areas where entire streets could be shut down for restaurant service,” said Andrew Rigie, executive director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance. “We really need to be creative.”
The move came as Mr. de Blasio estimated that 200,000 to 400,000 unemployed New Yorkers could return to work when the city meets the public health benchmarks to begin reopening some of its nonessential businesses, possibly in early June.
New York City is the only part of the state that has yet to meet those requirements. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo hinted in a radio interview on Thursday that five regions of the state that have already begun the process could soon move on to a “Phase 2.”
Mr. Cuomo also announced on Thursday that he would issue an executive order authorizing any business in the state to deny entry to people who were not wearing face coverings. Store owners, he said, have “a right to protect themselves” and “a right to protect the other patrons.”
As many businesses across the country resume, some states are allowing day care centers and preschools to reopen.
But for millions of working parents, the choice to send their children back to a place known for spreading germs, even in more normal times, is not easy. And in an industry operating on razor-thin margins, the survival of many child care centers is in doubt.
The coronavirus cost the industry — which typically serves more than 12 million children in the United States under 6 — more than 355,000 jobs in March and April. And a survey by an industry group showed that many providers were so short of cash that they could go out of business permanently.
Democrats in Congress are introducing bills that would spend $50 billion to keep centers afloat, provide tuition relief to families and help put in place new safety measures. But for those balancing professional and economic pressures with health concerns, the idea of re-enrolling their child can be anxiety-provoking, even with new sanitation and social-distancing practices.
Mandy Zaransky-Hurst, a corporate executive in Chicago, has been missing her 4-month-old’s day care.
She said her current arrangement, which required her to frequently rise at 4 a.m. to begin a 10-hour workday, while also caring for her 6-year-old was “not sustainable.” But she worries that day care is not safe.
“What true flexibility and understanding will companies give to employees who can’t send their kids back to day care?” Ms. Zaransky-Hurst asked.
Experts now worry that if licensed centers disappear, more families will resort to ad hoc arrangements, such as relying on relatives, friends or neighbors who lack experience, let alone formal training in safety or education.
“Is that essential business?” asked Nayda Alvarez, 49, who recently found construction markers on land in Starr County, Texas, that has been in her family for five generations. “That didn’t stop a single minute during the shelter in place or stay at home.”
The federal government brought a flurry of lawsuits against landowners in South Texas to survey, seize and potentially begin construction on private property in the first five months of the year as the administration rushed to deliver on Mr. Trump’s promise to build 450 miles of wall by the end of the year, which he downgraded on Thursday to 400. Mr. Trump has built less than 200 of those miles, and his administration has brought 78 lawsuits against landowners on the border, Zolan Kanno-Youngs reported. Thirty of those suits were filed this year.
The increased litigation against the landowners, despite the pandemic, is evidence of the administration’s sense of urgency to deliver on a symbol of Mr. Trump’s crackdown on immigration. The president has said the pandemic is proof of the wall’s necessity, though there is no real evidence it will have any effect on public health.
Some of the landowners sued have kept the properties in their families for generations. But some say the government’s timing has left them further disadvantaged in a process in which the administration already has the law on its side. Social distancing and other virus restrictions have made it difficult for landowners to meet with relatives and lawyers to discuss the government’s offers, and some have questioned why the push to access their properties is coming as the virus spreads.
Landowners can choose to allow the government to access and survey their land and, if the administration wants it, accept compensation that is supposed to be based on fair market value. But if they refuse, they are likely to be taken to court, where the government can use eminent domain powers to argue that the wall is an emergency and eventually take possession of their land. The government can then begin construction, even while continuing to argue with the landowners over compensation.
Republicans planning their party’s convention gave North Carolina’s governor a deadline of June 3 to approve safety measures to prevent the spread of the virus during the event, planned for Charlotte in August. The move came as President Trump pressures Democratic leaders in the state to allow him to hold the kind of convention he wants, and as they cite public health concerns and say it is too soon to make a determination.
The Republican National Committee chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel, and the president of the convention committee, Marcia Lee Kelly, laid out the deadline in a joint letter to Gov. Roy Cooper on Thursday.
The president has tried to force Mr. Cooper and Vi Lyles, the mayor of Charlotte, to commit quickly to a Republican plan for a party celebration in the biggest city in a state that Mr. Trump won in 2016.
But the letter also appeared to be an effort to put the onus on Mr. Cooper and Ms. Lyles, both of whom are Democrats, if Republicans end up trying to stage their convention in another state.
“We still do not have solid guidelines from the state and cannot in good faith, ask thousands of visitors to begin paying deposits and making travel plans without knowing the full commitment of the governor, elected officials and other stakeholders in supporting the convention,” Ms. McDaniel and Ms. Kelly wrote.
Global updates: Countries are opening up, even as their caseloads rise.
There have been nearly 700,000 new known cases reported in the past week as the virus spreads in Latin America. But many countries are sputtering into reopenings at what experts fear may be the worst time.
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Reporting was contributed by Mike Baker, Karen Barrow, Julie Bosman, Ben Casselman, Andrew Das, Dana Goldstein, Maggie Haberman, Matt Richtel, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Matt Stevens and Marc Santora.