Fauci says the virus might disrupt U.S. life until toward ‘the end of 2021.’
The United States should not expect a return to regular life until “well into 2021, maybe even towards the end of 2021,” Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, said on Friday.
In an interview with “Andrea Mitchell Reports” on MSNBC, Dr. Fauci addressed a possible timeline for when activities like going to an indoor movie theater “with impunity” might be able to resume. While a vaccine may be available by the end of the year, he said, “by the time you mobilize the distribution of the vaccinations, and you get the majority or more of the population vaccinated and protected, that’s likely not going to happen till the mid or end of 2021.”
Dr. Fauci was also asked about comments he had made on Thursday in a panel discussion at Harvard Medical School, where he said that “we need to hunker down and get through this fall and winter, because it’s not going to be easy.” Ms. Mitchell pointed out that this conflicted with a remark by President Trump at the White House that day, that the country had “rounded the final turn” on the virus.
“I have to disagree,” Dr. Fauci said of Mr. Trump’s read on the situation. “We’re plateauing at around 40,000 cases a day, and the deaths are around 1,000.”
In any case, he said, “what we don’t want to see is going into the fall season when people will be spending more time indoors — and that’s not good for a respiratory borne virus — you don’t want to start off already with a baseline that’s so high.”
As of Thursday, there were an average of 35,629 cases per day over the previous week, a decrease of 16 percent from two weeks earlier, according to a Times database. Case numbers remain high across much of the country, though reports of new cases have dropped considerably since late July, when the country averaged well over 60,000 per day. In Kansas, officials reported 21 new deaths on Friday, a single-day record for the state.
More than 1,000 protesters gathered in Auckland, New Zealand, on Saturday for a “freedom rally” aimed at opposing the country’s lingering lockdown — a demonstration that included a woman who, for critics of the lockdown, has come to exemplify the harshness of the nation’s approach to the pandemic.
Known simply as LK, the woman was sentenced last month to 14 days in jail for leading her three children out of a quarantine facility to attend a funeral for the children’s father after they had tested negative for the virus. On Saturday, she appeared but did not speak.
“She is one New Zealander who has suffered a considerable loss because of the government’s responses to Covid-19,” said one of the day’s speakers.
Auckland is still under Alert Level 2.5, meaning that social gatherings of more than 10 people are not allowed.
But with only two new cases of community transmission reported on Saturday — and 108 active cases nationwide — critics are questioning whether the New Zealand government has been too slow to ease restrictions. Weekly protests against the lockdown have been growing.
“We want our rights and freedom back,” Jami-Lee Ross, a leader of Advance NZ, a new fringe political party that says it stands for freedom and sovereignty. He told the crowd that living in lockdown was “wrong and needed to stop.”
The authorities were mostly passive. As the crowd marched peacefully through downtown Auckland, carrying signs and chanting “we do not consent,” police officers wearing masks simply watched.
A recent Brock University study of 451 adults ages 20 to 82 in the United States found that people who believed they had contracted the coronavirus weren’t always honest about it. Thirty-four percent of participants who had tested positive said they had denied having symptoms when asked by others, and 55 percent reported some level of concealment of their symptoms.
Twenty-five percent of participants reported that they had in some way concealed their physical distancing practices. That rate increased among those with Covid-19, according to the study, published last month in The Journal of Health Psychology.
Women were more likely to disclose health symptoms than men were, researchers said, and older adults were more honest about their virus status and behaviors.
But the exact reasoning behind lying during the pandemic is complicated and may be related to the environment, according to David M. Castro, a psychotherapist and adjunct professor of psychology at Adelphi University and the City College of New York.
“I think that so much is barred from someone right now,” Dr. Castro said. “There’s a lot of loneliness, a lot of depression stemming from loneliness.”
Robert Feldman, a professor of psychological and brain sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and author of “The Liar in Your Life: The Way to Truthful Relationships,” said his research showed that people typically tell three lies within the first 10 minutes of meeting someone else.
“It’s part of what we do as members of society,” he said. “We tell people that we’re feeling well when we’re not feeling so well.”
Canada reported zero deaths linked to Covid-19 in a 24-hour period on Friday night, according to government data, even as the number of new cases in the country has ticked slowly upward as restrictions ease and schools reopen for in-person classes.
There had been at least 135,600 confirmed coronavirus cases in Canada as of Friday evening, according to the government. The number of new cases being reported daily has fallen significantly from an early May peak of nearly 3,000 cases, and now averages a few hundred a day. But as of Thursday, the average number of new daily cases was up nearly 50 percent compared with a few weeks earlier.
Four Canadian provinces — Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec — account for most of the cases that the country has reported over the past week. Those provinces also accounted for all of the 23 virus-deaths reported over the same period. This week, Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, said it would take a four-week “pause” before considering loosening restrictions or allowing further economic reopening.
Canada has previously reported zero Covid-19 deaths in 24-hour periods, although measuring that can be imprecise because of delays in reporting. The average number of daily reported deaths over the past week is three.
In the United States, as of Thursday the average number of daily reported deaths over the past week was 702.
Other pandemic developments around the world:
India again broke a record for daily new cases, reporting 97,750 on Saturday, according to a Times database. The previous record, set Friday, was 96,551.
When film festivals require social distance, generating a buzz is tough for smaller productions.
About 70 cars crammed into a downtown Los Angeles parking lot surrounded by high rises and a smattering of food trucks on Thursday night to watch “Concrete Cowboy,” a father-son film starring Idris Elba and set in northern Philadelphia’s Black cowboy community.
In terms of movie premieres, it was unorthodox.
“It is a dream come true,” Ricky Staub, the 37-year-old white filmmaker making his directorial debut, said while standing in front of a huge screen. “I don’t know when you dream of releasing your movie it’s at a drive-in, but I never dreamed that my first movie would be an all-Black western set in Philly.”
Mr. Staub had ambitious plans when “Concrete Cowboy” landed coveted spots in the Telluride and Toronto film festivals. The plans all changed when Telluride was canceled because of the pandemic and Toronto opted for a hybrid model that features in-person screenings for Canadian audiences and a virtual version for everyone else.
For small indie films like “Concrete Cowboy,” the loss of traditional film festivals means not having a chance to build word-of-mouth momentum that could be the difference between becoming an unlikely Oscar darling or another also-ran in the video-on-demand market.
At the Venice Film Festival, held in person with certain safety restrictions, “One Night in Miami” — the directorial debut of the Oscar-winning actress Regina King — has already generated early awards chatter. Amazon recently bought it in a bidding war.
Under bright blue skies, nearly 2,000 students gathered this month for the start of school at Hanyang No. 1 High School in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the coronavirus first emerged.
Medical workers stood guard at school entrances, taking temperatures. Administrative officials reviewed the students’ travel histories and coronavirus test results. Local Communist Party cadres kept watch, making sure teachers followed detailed instructions on hygiene and showed an “anti-epidemic spirit.”
“I’m not worried,” a music teacher at the school, Yang Meng, said in an interview. “Wuhan is now the safest place.”
As countries around the world struggle to safely reopen schools, China’s Communist Party is harnessing the power of its authoritarian system to offer in-person learning for about 195 million students in kindergarten through 12th grade at public schools.
In many ways, China is applying the same heavy-handed model to reopen schools that it has used to bring the virus under control. To stop the epidemic, the authorities imposed harsh lockdowns and deployed invasive technologies to track residents, raising public anger in some places and concerns about the erosion of privacy and civil liberties.
China’s leader, Xi Jinping, said in a speech on Tuesday that the country’s progress in fighting the virus, including the opening of schools, had “fully demonstrated the clear superiority of Communist Party leadership and our socialist system.
“The Chinese system moves by itself,” said Yong Zhao, a scholar at the University of Kansas who has studied education in China. “The system is run like a military: It just goes for it, no matter what anyone thinks.”
Reporting was contributed by Ben Casselman, Damien Cave, Patricia Cohen, Helene Cooper, Conor Dougherty, Javier C. Hernández, Jonathan Huang, Mike Ives, Dan Powell, Nelson D. Schwartz, Nicole Sperling, Jim Tankersley and Derrick Bryson Taylor.