A judge struck down a state order requiring most Florida schools to open for in-person instruction.
A Florida judge ruled on Monday that the state’s requirement that public schools open their classrooms for in-person instruction violates the Florida constitution because it “arbitrarily disregards safety” and denies local school boards the ability to decide when students can safely return.
The ruling was a victory for the American Federation of Teachers, the nation’s second-largest teachers’ union, and one of its affiliates, the Florida Education Association. The unions sued Gov. Ron DeSantis and Richard Corcoran, the education commissioner, last month in the first lawsuit of its kind in the country.
The state’s order required that school districts give students the option to go back to school in person by Aug. 31 or risk losing crucial state funding. An exception was made only for Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, which have been the hardest hit by the coronavirus and plan to start the school year online.
“The districts have no meaningful alternative,” Judge Charles W. Dodson of the Leon County Circuit Court wrote of the rest of the state’s schools. “If an individual school district chooses safety, that is, delaying the start of schools until it individually determines it is safe to do so for its county, it risks losing state funding, even though every student is being taught.”
Later Monday, the state filed an appeal to the ruling, prompting an immediate stay.
“This fight has been, and will continue to be, about giving every parent, every teacher and every student a choice, regardless of what educational option they choose,” Mr. Corcoran said in a statement.
In Tampa, the state’s reopening order prevented the Hillsborough County school district from starting the school year with four weeks of online-only instruction, as the school board wanted to do. The Hillsborough board is scheduled to meet on Tuesday, although no vote is expected, a district spokeswoman said. The superintendent, Addison Davis, said in a statement after the ruling that the school system continued to plan to start classes on Aug. 31 with a choice of in-person or online instruction.
During a three-day hearing last week, the unions presented testimony from public health experts and teachers concerned about risking their health. One teacher said he would quit to avoid exposure to the virus. Another, who is quadriplegic, said he could not afford to leave his job, though his doctor had warned him that Covid-19 would threaten his life.
“In a pandemic, none of these things are great victories, but it is a reprieve for human life,” said Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers. “It is a pushback on reckless disregard of human life. It is a pushback on politics overtaking safety and the science and the well-being of communities.”
With a federal eviction moratorium coming to an end in the United States, legal aid lawyers say they are preparing to defend renters in housing court.
The fourth-month moratorium followed by a 30-day notice period, protected about 12 million tenants living in qualifying properties. Local moratoriums in some states have protected others not covered by the federal law.
For tenants, especially those with limited means, having a lawyer can be the difference between being evicted and being able to stay, but tenants in housing courts rarely have legal representation. Surveys in several big cities over the years have found that at least 80 percent of landlords, but fewer than 10 percent of tenants, tend to have lawyers.
The president’s recent executive order on assistance to renters doesn’t offer much immediate hope for people facing eviction; it merely directs federal agencies to consider what they could do using existing authority and budgets.
“Tenants are not equipped to represent themselves, and eviction court places them on an uneven playing field,” said Ellie Pepper of the National Housing Resource Center.
Demand for legal assistance with housing issues is on the rise in states where local moratoriums have ended. “Our caseloads haven’t yet exploded, because the courts just started hearing cases that were pending before the pandemic struck,” said Lindsey Siegel, a lawyer with Atlanta Legal Aid. “But it’s coming.”
A 33-year-old man was infected a second time with the coronavirus more than four months after his first bout, the first documented case of so-called reinfection, researchers in Hong Kong reported Monday.
The finding was not unexpected, especially given the millions of people who have been infected worldwide, experts said. And the man had no symptoms the second time, suggesting that even though the prior exposure did not prevent the reinfection, his immune system kept the virus somewhat in check.
“The second infection was completely asymptomatic — his immune response prevented the disease from getting worse,” said Akiko Iwasaki, an immunologist at Yale University who was not involved with the work but reviewed the report at The New York Times’s request. “It’s kind of a textbook example of how immunity should work.”
People who do not have symptoms may still spread the virus to others, however, underscoring the importance of vaccines, Dr. Iwasaki said. In the man’s case, she added, “natural infection created immunity that prevented disease but not reinfection.”
“In order to provide herd immunity, a potent vaccine is needed to induce immunity that prevents both reinfection and disease,” Dr. Iwasaki said.
Doctors have reported several cases of presumed reinfection in the United States and elsewhere, but none of those cases have been confirmed with rigorous testing. Recovered people are known to carry viral fragments for weeks, which can lead to positive test results in the absence of live virus.
But the Hong Kong researchers sequenced the virus from both of the man’s infections and found significant differences, suggesting that the patient had been infected a second time.
The study is to be published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases. The Times obtained the manuscript from the University of Hong Kong.
The man’s first case was diagnosed on March 26, and he had only mild symptoms. He later tested negative for the virus twice and had no detectable antibodies after that first bout. He was positive again for the coronavirus on a saliva test on Aug. 15 after a trip to Spain via the United Kingdom. The man had picked up a strain that was circulating in Europe in July and August, the researchers said.
His infections were clearly caused by different versions of the coronavirus, Dr. Kelvin Kai-Wang To, a clinical microbiologist at the University of Hong Kong, said: “Our results prove that his second infection is caused by a new virus that he acquired recently, rather than prolonged viral shedding.”
Common cold coronaviruses are known to cause reinfections in less than a year, but experts had hoped that the new coronavirus might behave more like its cousins SARS and MERS, which seemed to produce protection lasting a few years.
It’s still unclear how common reinfection from the new coronavirus might be, because few researchers have sequenced the virus from each infection.
Zoom fixes partial outages that disrupted the first day of virtual classes for many U.S. students.
Zoom said it began receiving reports of users being unable to start or join meetings at about 8:50 a.m. on the East Coast, as working and school hours began. About two hours later, the company said that it was “deploying a fix across our cloud,” and at about 12:45 p.m. it said “everything should be working properly now.”
As the pandemic has kept students out of classrooms and workers out of offices, Zoom has quickly become critical infrastructure for many school districts, companies and local governments. The partial disruption in service, which lasted approximately four hours in some areas, adds another element to the contentious debate over how to safely and effectively resume learning this fall.
The Atlanta school district, which serves about 50,000 students, was among those affected by the outage. And students and professors at Penn State University reported widespread problems on campus on Monday morning.
The website DownDetector, which tracks outages at social media companies and tech companies, showed significant outages in major cities around the country, including New York, Washington, Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis and San Francisco. The site reported more than 15,000 outages by about 10 a.m. Eastern time.
Many courthouses also rely on Zoom to conduct hearings, city councils govern through virtual meetings, and the police face reporters in video news conferences.
Here are other key education developments:
Following months of pressure to set up outdoor classrooms in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday that principals can apply by this Friday to create outdoor classes in their schoolyards. The city’s public school system, the nation’s largest, is scheduled to reopen in just under three weeks in a hybrid model, leaving schools little time to move classroom infrastructure outdoors. The city will prioritize 27 neighborhoods badly hit by the virus with schools that do not have usable outdoor space. The mayor said that outdoor learning “won’t work every day” because of bad weather, but that it was still a good alternative for many schools.
The University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, became the latest college to find a significant number of students testing positive for coronavirus upon their return to campus, university and county health officials said on Monday. The university said it had recorded 326 positive results since Aug. 15. On its website, the university said that it has conducted more than 87,000 tests since early July, with an average positive rate of .74 percent over the past five days — considered quite low. The college began modified in-person instruction on Monday.
More than 730 American colleges and universities have announced at least one case on campus among students, faculty or staff since the beginning of the pandemic, according to a New York Times database. Among the latest: Millikin University in Decatur, Ill., which reported its first case on Monday, the first day of fall classes.
The University of Kansas, where fall classes began Monday in Lawrence, issued 14-day public health bans to two fraternities on Sunday for violating university policies on mask wearing and social distancing. The university’s chancellor said in a statement that Kappa Sigma and Phi Kappa Psi were ordered not to host any event without approval from the university.
The University of Nebraska in Lincoln announced Sunday that students at the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority have been placed under quarantine after five cases were identified.
336 socially distanced Republican delegates gather to renominate Trump for president.
After tests and temperature checks, 336 Republican delegates representing 50 states, five territories and Washington, D.C., gathered in Charlotte, N.C., on Monday and officially renominated President Trump. It was the only in-person event of either political party’s quadrennial convention.
In a surprise speech at the convention, Mr. Trump accused his opponents of “using Covid to steal the election,” repeating claims that voting by mail was part of plot to cost him the election.
Mr. Trump also criticized Roy Cooper, the Democratic governor of North Carolina, telling the crowd in Charlotte that Mr. Cooper and other Democratic governors had enacted virus restrictions simply to hurt his re-election chances and would lift them after Election Day.
“You have a governor who is in a total shutdown mood,” he said. “I guarantee you on November 4, it will all open up.”
Outside of the convention hall, public health officials in Mecklenburg County, which includes Charlotte, continue to fight to contain the spread of the virus, with an average of 1,100 new cases a day over the past week, according to a New York Times database.
Just six representatives from each state and territory are in the room, masked and seated at a distance from one another. Each speaker is required to wear a mask before he or she reaches the podium, and the microphone will be cleaned between speakers, according to a person briefed on the protocols.
Mr. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence spoke to the delegates, and Mr. Trump plans to appear every night during the convention.
Despite the precautions in place inside the convention hall, photographs of crowds gathered by the stage while Mr. Trump spoke showed people not social distancing, some wearing masks and some without.
When European countries ordered businesses to close and employees to stay home as the coronavirus spread, governments took aggressive steps to shield workers from the prospect of mass joblessness, extending billions to businesses to keep people employed.
The layoffs are coming anyway.
A tsunami of job cuts is about to hit Europe as companies prepare to carry out sweeping downsizing plans to offset a collapse in business. Government-backed furlough programs that have helped keep about a third of Europe’s work force financially secure are set to unwind in the coming months.
As many as 59 million jobs are at risk of cuts in hours or pay, temporary furloughs or permanent layoffs, especially in industries like transportation and retail, according to a study by McKinsey & Company.
Governments are warning that millions will soon lose paychecks, and the European Central Bank last week said unemployment was likely to surge and stay high even when a recovery from the pandemic unfolds.
“Europe has been successful at dampening the initial effects of the crisis,” said John Hurley, senior research manager at Eurofound, the research arm of the European Union. “But in all likelihood, unemployment is going to come home to roost, especially when the generous furlough programs start to ease off.”
“There’s going to be a shakeout,” he added, “and it’s going to be fairly ugly.”
Compared with the United States, which lost more than 20 million jobs in April alone, the furlough programs in the European Union have prevented unemployment from going off the charts.
But even before a recent resurgence of coronavirus cases, the pandemic’s economic damage was growing, and it now appears those programs postponed, rather than prevented, the pain for some workers. Some companies believe the disruption is the best time to make cuts they were planning anyway.
Airbus, BP, Renault, Lufthansa, Air France, the Debenhams department store chain, the Bank of Ireland, the retailer W.H. Smith and even the McLaren Group, which includes the Formula One racing team, are among those planning reductions, along with countless smaller businesses.
In other developments around the world:
For 40 days, millions of people in Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang region in western China, have been unable to leave their homes because of a sweeping lockdown to fight a virus resurgence. Now, with the outbreak seemingly under control but the restrictions still largely in place, many residents say they are being confined to their homes unnecessarily and denied access to critical services like health care. The ruling Communist Party has been widely criticized in recent years for a harsh crackdown on the region’s Muslim minority.
Bali, Indonesia’s leading tourist destination, has abandoned its plan to allow foreign tourists starting Sept. 11, Gov. I Wayan Koster announced, and will wait at least until the end of the year before opening to them. Bali’s economy contracted 11 percent during the second quarter, with about 2,700 tourism workers laid off and another 74,000 on unpaid leave, the governor said.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand extended a lockdown in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, until Sunday night. The restrictions had been set to expire on Wednesday, but Ms. Ardern said the extra time was necessary to ensure that a virus cluster had been brought under control. Eight new confirmed or probable cases were announced on Monday, bringing the total to 101.
The first volunteer was inoculated with a “made in Italy” vaccine on Monday at Spallanzani hospital in Rome, which specializes in infectious diseases. The vaccine is produced by ReiThera, a biotechnology company based near Rome but headquartered in Switzerland.
Health authorities in France said a virus outbreak at a nudist camp in the southern resort town of Le Cap d’Agde was “very worrying.” More than 140 people have tested positive in the town, the Agence Régionale de Santé (ARS), France’s health agency, said on Sunday, and 310 more are awaiting results.
KEY DATA OF THE DAY
Residents in Danbury, Conn., are urged to to stay home and limit gatherings after a rise in cases.
Officials in Connecticut have issued a public health warning for the city of Danbury, urging residents to stay home when possible and limit gatherings after new cases jumped sharply there in the first 20 days of August.
Danbury, a city of about 84,000 people near the New York border, reported 178 new cases in that time, the state said, more than quadruple the figure for the prior two weeks.
The state’s public health department now recommends that residents not attend large church services or outdoor gatherings, or any gathering indoors with people other than those they live with.
“It does worry us that the number has gone up quite a bit,” Gov. Ned Lamont said at a news conference on Monday afternoon, referring to the share of positive test results in Danbury. He also urged people to self-quarantine, wear face coverings, social distance and get tested.
In a statement on Friday, officials said that many new cases in Danbury appeared linked to recent domestic and international travel. Connecticut currently requires travelers from dozens of states and two territories to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
Danbury was among the state’s hardest-hit places earlier this year; Connecticut’s first confirmed case worked at Danbury Hospital.
Danbury’s public schools will start the year with distance learning because of the outbreak, the superintendent said in a letter posted to Facebook on Monday.
Elsewhere in the region:
After a cripplingly slow vote count in New York’s June primary, marred by thousands of disqualified ballots, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Monday that he would sign a series of executive orders to make it easier for voters to cast valid absentee ballots in November. The orders will require local officials to “take steps to be ready to start counting votes ASAP,” after the Nov. 3 election. The governor also ordered a redesign of ballot-return envelopes to make it clear where they should be signed, addressing a common reason for disqualification.
New testing sites will be set up at LaGuardia and Kennedy airports for many out-of-state travelers, Mr. Cuomo said.
N.F.L. practices are disrupted by erroneous test results.
When 11 National Football League teams were notified over the weekend that a total of 77 people, including players and staff members, had apparently tested positive, they scrambled to respond, holding players out of practice and rescheduling training sessions.
Then on Monday came word from the testing lab: Never mind.
The results were all false positives, BioReference Laboratories said in a news release on Monday, citing “isolated contamination during test preparation” at one of its facilities in New Jersey.
“All individuals impacted have been confirmed negative and informed,” Dr. Jon R. Cohen, BioReference’s executive chairman, said in the news release.
N.F.L. officials said on Sunday that the affected clubs were following contact tracing, isolation and rescheduling protocols that were outlined by the league and players’ association. Among the 11 affected teams were the Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears and Buffalo Bills.
Eight Vikings athletes with false positives watched team meetings virtually on Sunday, unable to attend practice. The New York Jets, Cleveland Browns and Bears all rescheduled training sessions before getting the all clear; the Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles and Detroit Lions held out players who had falsely tested positive.
The league’s regular season is expected to start Sept. 10.
Elsewhere in sports:
Usain Bolt, the Jamaican sprinter who won eight gold medals over the course of three Olympics, will go into quarantine “just to be safe” as he awaits results from a test, he said in an Instagram post on Monday. He celebrated turning 34 on Friday at a surprise party attended by, among others, his girlfriend, his newborn daughter and the prominent soccer players Raheem Sterling and Leon Bailey. Videos posted by the music news outlet Urban Islandz showed attendees dancing near one another without wearing masks. It was not clear whether any others at the party had tested positive. Jamaica has recently had a spike in cases.
In New York, school-sponsored sports that are considered “lower risk,” including tennis, soccer, cross country, field hockey and swimming, may practice and play with limits starting Sept. 21 statewide, the governor said Monday. Teams may not travel to play outside of the school’s region or contiguous regions or counties until Oct. 19. Sports with more physical contact that are considered “higher risk,” including football, wrestling, rugby and hockey, may begin practicing with limits but cannot play until a later date or Dec. 31.
Why are the numbers of U.S. cases decreasing? Because restrictions are working, experts say.
After cases surged in June and July, the number of new reported U.S. cases began to level off, then drop, though the infection rate remains one of the world’s highest.
Of the states that are driving the decrease, all have at least some local mask mandates. And most have paused or reversed statewide reopening policies, again closing bars, gyms and theaters.
Many of the states with the biggest decreases per million people also had some of the country’s worst outbreaks in July.
Experts said that the drop in reported cases could not be attributed to the recent drop in testing volume. They explained that decreased hospitalizations and a lower share of positive tests indicated that the spread had most likely slowed.
A July surge in Florida affected young people in particular. Statewide bar closures following earlier reopenings and local mask mandates are among the policies that have helped reverse the trend, said Mary Jo Trepka, the chair of the Florida International University epidemiology department. Deaths were greater in July for residents under 65 than for those over 90.
And though Florida is doing better now, the state did surpass 600,000 cases on Sunday.
Arizona and Louisiana have also seen cases drop after taking mask mandates and other measures came into force.
Elsewhere in the United States:
Louisiana shut down its coronavirus testing sites on Monday as the state braced for two tropical storms, Marco and Laura, in quick succession. Hospitals and urgent care facilities can still perform tests, said Kevin Litten, a spokesman for the Louisiana Department of Health. The shutdown of the state sites, and any power outages the storms cause, will probably lead to “some kind of disruption in data collection,” Mr. Litten said, followed by a jump in cases when testing resumes afterward. Similar effects were seen after Tropical Storm Isaias, which disrupted testing in Florida and the Carolinas early this month. Coastal Louisiana is among the hardest-hit areas of a state that has recorded at least 143,000 coronavirus cases and nearly 4,750 deaths, according to a New York Times database.
Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Senator Kamala Harris will be tested regularly for Covid-19 as Election Day approaches, the Biden campaign said on Monday, a day after a senior Biden official said Mr. Biden had not yet been tested. The Biden team said that “with the potential of additional events” over the remainder of the campaign, it had increased its health protocols. Staff members who interact with Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris will also be tested regularly, and the campaign said it would announce publicly if either candidate ever has a confirmed case of Covid-19.
The Trump administration tied billions of dollars in badly needed coronavirus medical funding this spring to hospitals’ cooperation with a private vendor collecting data for a new Covid-19 database that bypassed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The office of the health secretary, Alex M. Azar II, laid out the requirement in an April 21 email obtained by The New York Times that instructed hospitals to make a one-time report of their Covid-19 admissions and intensive care unit beds to TeleTracking Technologies, a company in Pittsburgh whose $10.2 million, five-month government contract has drawn scrutiny on Capitol Hill.
Louis DeJoy, the postmaster general, defended his record on Monday, as he testified before the House Oversight Committee on Monday. He said he told some of Mr. Trump’s advisers that the president’s repeated attacks on mail-in voting were “not helpful.” Watch the hearing live as lawmakers raise concerns about postal changes that could complicate mail-in voting.
Representative Jenniffer González-Colón, Puerto Rico’s nonvoting delegate to Congress, said on Monday that she had tested positive for the coronavirus, a week after the island’s Aug. 16 primary drew politicians to many indoor events. “I think it was a mistake on my part to be in a closed environment,” she said on Facebook Live. Ms. González-Colón, a member of the New Progressive Party, which supports Puerto Rican statehood, was not the only party member to test positive. Among the others were the House speaker, the Senate majority leader and two top aides to the party’s nominee for governor.
With the 2020 census into its final stage, more than one in three people hired as census takers have quit or failed to show up. And with 38 million households still uncounted, state and local officials are raising concerns that many poor and minority households will be left out of the count. The coronavirus and rising mistrust of the government on the part of hard-to-reach groups like immigrants and Latinos already have made this census challenging. But another issue has upended it: an order last month to finish the count a month early, guaranteeing that population figures will be delivered to the White House while President Trump is still in office.
Reporting was contributed by Liz Alderman, Maggie Astor, Gillian R. Brassil, Chelsea Brasted, Marie Fazio, Sheri Fink, Claire Fu, Christoph Fuhrmans, Matthew Goldstein, Maggie Haberman, Javier C. Hernández, Annie Karni, Andrew E. Kramer, Sharon LaFraniere, Théophile Larcher, Lauren Leatherby, Apoorva Mandavilli, Patricia Mazzei, Jesse McKinley, Richard C. Paddock, Elisabetta Povoledo, Frances Robles, Amanda Rosa, Eliza Shapiro, Dera Menra Sijabat, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Eileen Sullivan, Katie Thomas, Alan Yuhas and Albee Zhang.