Coronavirus Live Updates: Half of Humanity Under Lockdown Orders

The Four Percent


Global infections keep soaring.

Nearly four billion people on the planet — half of humanity — found themselves on Friday under some sort of order to stay in their homes.

But some U.S. states were still resisting such measures.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, said that he believed that social-distancing measures should be extended in every state.

The U.S. economy had added jobs for 113 months in a row, dating from the early period of the recovery from the Great Recession.

Oil prices rose sharply, extending Thursday’s gains on word that major oil producers would meet to discuss the falling demand for petroleum. Brent crude, the international benchmark, rose as much as 10 percent.

Small businesses seek a share of $350 billion as some predict a chaotic process.

Small businesses flooded lenders with emergency loan applications on Friday morning as the spigot opened on $350 billion in relief money.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that community banks had processed 700 loans for $2.5 million before 9 a.m. An hour later, he said the total was up to $4 million, a sign of the surging demand. Larger banks are expected to go live later in the morning, Mr. Mnuchin added.

The program is the centerpiece of the Trump administration’s economic stabilization effort and comes as government figures showed that 701,000 jobs were lost last month.

Lenders and borrowers have been bracing for a chaotic start to the program, which was assembled by the Small Business Administration and the Treasury Department in just a week. There has been mass confusion about the terms of the loans and the application form that borrowers are supposed to use.

The Treasury Department changed the terms of the loans, increasing the interest rates that banks get from 0.5 percent to 1 percent, on Thursday evening. Mr. Mnuchin posted the final version of the form on Twitter at 10:43 pm. on Thursday.

“I expect it to be a train wreck,” Brock Blake, chief executive of the small business lending marketplace Lendio, said of the first day of the program.

Britain is drawing up plans to issue an “immunity passport” for key workers that would certify those who have recovered from coronavirus — and carry antibodies identifiable by a blood test — that would allow them to resume a normal working life.

Although in its early stages, the idea could form part of a broader exit strategy from the countrywide lockdown, once the spread of the disease has been brought under control.

“We have a stream of work underway on immunity,” the health secretary, Matthew Hancock, told the BBC on Friday. “We are potentially having immunity certificates so that if people have been through it and when the science is clear about the point at which they are then immune, people can then start getting back to normal.”

The scale of any initiative is likely to depend on the government’s success in rolling out antibody tests that show whether people who experienced light symptoms — or none at all — are likely to be immune from the illness.

The government says that it is working to ensure that such tests are sufficiently accurate, but that not all are performing to required standards of reliability.

Officials announced on Friday that 3,605 people in Britain had died, up 684 from the previous day.

Hours earlier, Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, opened the country’s newest and largest hospital, with a capacity for 4,000 beds. The temporary facility, the N.H.S. Nightingale, is in an exhibition center in East London that was converted in just nine days.

Prince Charles, who earlier this week ended self-isolation following his own coronavirus diagnosis, opened the hospital via a video link from Scotland.

The company usually makes about 400 million masks a year.

It is unclear what set off Mr. Trump, but his trade adviser, Peter Navarro, made an oblique reference to 3M at the briefing, mentioning that “we’ve had some issues making sure that all of the production that 3M does around the world” ends up being sent “to the right places.”

Even as the United States grapples with a mask shortage, 3M has continued to sell the critical safety equipment abroad, according to someone with direct knowledge of the matter.

The Minnesota-based company did not respond to requests for comment.

Germany’s response keeps death toll low, and Merkel’s approval rating soars.

At the end of seven hours in mask, gown and gloves at Bellevue Hospital Center on Monday, Dr. Richard Levitan finally had a chance to look at his phone.

Dr. Levitan, an emergency physician who lives in northern New Hampshire, had volunteered to work for 10 days at Bellevue, in Manhattan, as coronavirus patients besieged New York City hospitals. Monday was his first shift there.

As the Estonian public watched the authorities’ desperate attempts to contain a coronavirus outbreak on the island of Saaremaa, the government quietly enacted legislation that would send home all unemployed workers from outside the European Union.

The legislation was drafted by the Interior Ministry, which is led by Mart Helme, the head of the far-right Estonian Conservative People’s Party. Mr. Helme is a vocal critic of the large Russian minority in Estonia and is known for his rants against migrants and promoting the slogan: “If you’re black, go back.”

The bill is tied to an emergency aid package that Parliament is expected to approve by mid-April, despite criticism of its unclear and arbitrary provisions. It will terminate the visas and work permits of non-European Union citizens who lose their jobs and will be felt mostly by thousands of Russians, Ukrainians and migrants from Asia.

It also gives the government the power to decide which sectors are allowed to recruit workers from abroad.

Mr. Helme said that employers should always strive to use local workers.

“Our people are worth being offered jobs during a difficult time of increasing unemployment,” he said in a statement.

Eoin McNamara, a doctoral researcher in political science at the University of Tartu, said Mr. Helme and his party, which joined the coalition government last year, have long seen the Ukrainians as likely to integrate with and galvanize the Russian-speaking minority.

“They have been threatening this for a long time,” he said. “It looks like he took advantage of a politically opportune time to deal with this.”

Reporting was contributed by Raphael Minder, Ben Hubbard, Declan Walsh, Christina Anderson, Joanna Berendt, Nada Rashwan, Melissa Eddy, Jim Dwyer, Stephen Castle, Jennifer Valentino-DeVries, Denise Lu and Gabriel J.X. Dance, Marc Santora, Megan Specia, Vindu Goel, Jeffrey Gettleman, Richard Pérez-Peña, Peter Eavis, Niraj Chokshi, David Gelles, Michael Corkery, Julia Jacobs and Maya Salam.


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