CNN’s Harry Enten writes, “while the reverse is true in the states with high vaccination rates.”

Dr. Vernon Rayford, an internal medicine doctor in Tupelo, Miss., told The Times that he had noticed a difference in the sources of skepticism. White skeptics often express a general distrust of government. Black skeptics are particularly mistrustful of the medical system, which has a long history of giving them substandard care — and even outright harmful treatments.

Across much of Mississippi — the state with the smallest share of residents to have received a shot — vaccine appointments are going unfilled largely because of a lack of demand. Two big reasons for the skepticism, Dr. Brian Castrucci, a public health expert, told The Times’s Andrew Jacobs, are misinformation on social media and mixed messages from Republican governors about the urgency of vaccination.

“It’s time to do the heavy lifting needed to overcome the hesitancy we’re encountering,” said Dr. Obie McNair, an internal medicine physician in Jackson.

Vaccine rates still are not high enough — in any state — to have ended the pandemic. In Connecticut and New Mexico, combined, about 11 people have died on a typical recent day. But that toll has fallen more than 80 percent since mid-January, even more than in the rest of the country.

declined to testify in his trial over the killing of George Floyd. Both sides will make closing arguments on Monday.

  • Officials in Chicago released video of the fatal police shooting of Adam Toledo, 13, last month. Mayor Lori Lightfoot called the footage “excruciating.”

  • A Hong Kong court sentenced several opposition leaders to prison for holding an unauthorized protest. The sentences send a clear message that activism carries severe risks, The Times’s Austin Ramzy writes.

  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Afghanistan to reassure its leaders that the U.S. would continue its support after withdrawing troops.

  • The Dallas Wings selected Charli Collier, a center from the University of Texas, as the No. 1 pick in the W.N.B.A. draft.

  • Can Biden be as transformative as Franklin Roosevelt?

    And it did.

    Lives Lived: Carol Prisant was a 51-year-old former antiques dealer with no journalism experience when she decided she wanted to work for the magazine The World of Interiors. She went on to an illustrious three-decade career. Prisant died at 82.

    will be buried tomorrow in England. The ceremony will be limited to 30 people and will have “minimal fuss,” according to the BBC, which will televise the funeral.

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    Biden Takes On Sagging Safety Net With Plan to Fix Long-Term Care

    President Biden’s $400 billion proposal to improve long-term care for older adults and those with disabilities was received as either a long overdue expansion of the social safety net or an example of misguided government overreach.

    Republicans ridiculed including elder care in a program dedicated to infrastructure. Others derided it as a gift to the Service Employees International Union, which wants to organize care workers. It was also faulted for omitting child care.

    For Ai-jen Poo, co-director of Caring Across Generations, a coalition of advocacy groups working to strengthen the long-term care system, it was an answer to years of hard work.

    “Even though I have been fighting for this for years,” she said, “if you would have told me 10 years ago that the president of the United States would make a speech committing $400 billion to increase access to these services and strengthen this work force, I wouldn’t have believed it would happen.”

    knocking millions of women out of the labor force — or deplete their resources until they qualify for Medicaid.

    Whatever the limits of the Biden proposal, advocates for its main constituencies — those needing care, and those providing it — are solidly behind it. This would be, after all, the biggest expansion of long-term care support since the 1960s.

    “The two big issues, waiting lists and work force, are interrelated,” said Nicole Jorwic, senior director of public policy at the Arc, which promotes the interests of people with disabilities. “We are confident we can turn this in a way that we get over the conflicts that have stopped progress in past.”

    And yet the tussle over resources could reopen past conflicts. For instance, when President Barack Obama proposed extending the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to home care workers, which would cover them with minimum-wage and overtime rules, advocates for beneficiaries and their families objected because they feared that states with budget pressures would cut off services at 40 hours a week.

    “We have a long road ahead of passing this into law and to implementation,” Haeyoung Yoon, senior policy director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, said of the Biden proposal. Along the way, she said, supporters must stick together.

    half of adults would need “a high level of personal assistance” at some point, typically for two years, at an average cost of $140,000. Today, some six million people need these sorts of services, a number the group expects to swell to 16 million in less than 50 years.

    In 2019, the National Academy of Social Insurance published a report suggesting statewide insurance programs, paid for by a dedicated tax, to cover a bundle of services, from early child care to family leave and long-term care and support for older adults and the disabled.

    This could be structured in a variety of ways. One option for seniors, a catastrophic insurance plan that would cover expenses up to $110 a day (in 2014 dollars) after a waiting period determined by the beneficiary’s income, could be funded by raising the Medicare tax one percentage point.

    Mr. Biden’s plan doesn’t include much detail. Mr. Gleckman of the Urban Institute notes that it has grown vaguer since Mr. Biden proposed it on the campaign trail — perhaps because he realized the tensions it would raise. In any event, a deeper overhaul of the system may eventually be needed.

    “This is a significant, historic investment,” Mr. Espinoza said. “But when you take into account the magnitude of the crisis in front of us, it’s clear that this is only a first step.”

    View Source

    Covid-19 Live Updates: U.S. Calls for Pause on Johnson & Johnson Vaccine, Complicating Rollout

    Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose coronavirus vaccine after six recipients in the United States developed a rare disorder involving blood clots within about two weeks of vaccination.

    All six recipients were women between the ages of 18 and 48. One woman died and a second woman in Nebraska has been hospitalized in critical condition.

    Nearly seven million people in the United States have received Johnson & Johnson shots so far, and roughly nine million more doses have been shipped out to the states, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    “We are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution,” Dr. Peter Marks, director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, and Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the C.D.C., said in a joint statement. “Right now, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare.”

    On a media call later on Tuesday morning, Dr. Marks said that “on an individual basis, a provider and patient can make a determination whether or not to receive the vaccine” manufactured by Johnson & Johnson.

    While the move was framed as a recommendation to health practitioners in the states, the federal government is expected to pause administration of the vaccine at all federally run vaccination sites. Federal officials expect that state health officials will take that as a strong signal to do the same. Within two hours of the announcement, Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio, a Republican, advised all health providers in his state to temporarily stop giving Johnson & Johnson shots. In New York, the health commissioner, Dr. Howard Zucker, said the state would halt the use of the vaccine statewide while federal officials evaluate the safety risks. Appointments for Johnson & Johnson’s shot on Tuesday at state mass sites would be honored with Pfizer doses, Dr. Zucker said.

    The authorities in New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, Nebraska, Georgia, Indiana, Texas and Virginia also said that they would follow the call from federal health agencies.

    Scientists with the F.D.A. and C.D.C. will jointly examine possible links between the vaccine and the disorder and determine whether the F.D.A. should continue to authorize use of the vaccine for all adults or limit the authorization.

    In the media call, federal health officials tried to reassure recipients of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine while at the same time describing symptoms that they should watch out if they received a shot within the past month.

    Dr. Schuchat said that the risk of dangerous blood clots is “very low” for people who received the vaccine more than a month ago.

    “For people who recently got the vaccine within the last couple of weeks, they should be aware, to look for any symptoms. If you receive the vaccine and develop severe headaches, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath, you should contact your health care provider and seek medical treatment,” she said. She emphasized that an emergency meeting of the C.D.C.’s outside advisory committee, which has been scheduled for Wednesday, to discuss how to handle the vaccine in the future is made up of independent experts.

    Dr. Janet Woodcock, acting commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said she expects the pause in distributing and administrating the vaccine will last for “a matter of days” while officials investigate the cases. Officials also stressed that no serious safety problems have emerged with either of the other two federally authorized vaccines, developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

    The move could substantially complicate the nation’s vaccination efforts at a time when many states are confronting a surge in new cases and seeking to address vaccine hesitancy. Regulators in Europe and elsewhere are concerned about a similar issue with another coronavirus vaccine, developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University researchers. That concern has driven up some resistance to all vaccines, even though the AstraZeneca version has not been authorized for emergency use in the United States.

    The vast majority of the nation’s vaccine supply comes from two other manufacturers, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, which together deliver more than 23 million doses a week of their two-shot vaccines. There have been no significant safety concerns about either of those vaccines.

    But while shipments of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been much more limited, the Biden administration had still been counting on using hundreds of thousands of doses every week. In addition to requiring only a single dose, the vaccine is easier to ship and store than the other two, which must be stored at extremely low temperatures.

    Jeffrey D. Zients, the White House Covid-19 response coordinator, said Tuesday the pause “will not have a significant impact” the Biden administration’s plans to deliver enough vaccine to be able to inoculate all 260 million adults in the United States by the end of May. With the Johnson & Johnson setback, federal officials expect there will only be enough to cover fewer than 230 million adults. But a certain percentage of the population is expected to refuse shots, so the supply may cover all the demand.

    Mr. Zients said the administration will still “reach every adult who wants to be vaccinated” by the May 31 target.

    Federal officials are concerned that doctors may not be trained to look for the rare disorder if recipients of the vaccine develop symptoms of it. The federal health agencies said Tuesday morning that “treatment of this specific type of blood clot is different from the treatment that might typically be administered” for blood clots.

    “Usually, an anticoagulant drug called heparin is used to treat blood clots. In this setting, administration of heparin may be dangerous, and alternative treatments need to be given,” the statement said.

    In a news release, Johnson & Johnson said: “We are aware that thromboembolic events including those with thrombocytopenia have been reported with Covid-19 vaccines. At present, no clear causal relationship has been established between these rare events and the Janssen Covid-19 vaccine.” Janssen is the name of Johnson & Johnson’s division that developed the vaccine.

    In the United States alone, 300,000 to 600,000 people a year develop blood clots, according to C.D.C. data. But the particular blood clotting disorder that the vaccine recipients developed, known as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, is extremely rare.

    All of the women developed the condition within about two weeks of vaccination, and government experts are concerned that an immune system response triggered by the vaccine was the cause. Federal officials said there was broad agreement about the need to pause use of the vaccine while the cases are investigated.

    The decision is a fresh blow to Johnson & Johnson. Late last month, the company discovered that workers at a Baltimore plant run by its subcontractor had accidentally contaminated a batch of vaccine, forcing the firm to throw out the equivalent of 13 million to 15 million doses. That plant was supposed to take over supply of the vaccine to the United States from Johnson & Johnson’s Dutch plants, which were certified by federal regulators earlier this year.

    The Baltimore plant’s certification by the F.D.A. has now been delayed while inspectors investigate quality control issues, sharply reducing the supply of Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The sudden drop in available doses led to widespread complaints from governors and state health officials who had been expecting much bigger shipments of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine this week than they got.

    A Kent State University student getting his Johnson & Johnson vaccination in Kent, Ohio, last week.
    Credit…Phil Long/Associated Press

    The authorities in Ohio, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, Nebraska, Georgia, Indiana, Texas and Virginia said on Tuesday that they would follow the call from federal health agencies to pause the administration of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine after six women in the United States developed a rare disorder involving blood clots within about two weeks of vaccination.

    CVS, the nation’s largest retail pharmacy chain, also said that it would immediately stop its use of Johnson & Johnson vaccinations and was emailing customers whose appointments would be canceled. A spokesman said that CVS would reschedule appointments “as soon as possible.”

    Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio and the state’s chief health official said they were advising all state vaccine providers to temporarily halt use of the single-dose vaccine. New York’s health commissioner, Dr. Howard Zucker, said the state would stop using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, while the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention evaluate the safety risks.

    Connecticut health officials said they told vaccine providers to delay planned appointments and give an alternative option if they had the supply.

    The C.D.C.’s outside advisory committee has scheduled an emergency meeting for Wednesday.

    Jeff Zients, the White House Covid coordinator, said on Tuesday that the pause will not have a significant impact on the country’s vaccination campaign, which has accelerated in recent weeks as a rise in new virus cases threatens a fourth possible surge. Many states have already opened vaccination eligibility to all adults and others plan to by next week.

    “Over the last few weeks, we have made available more than 25 million doses of Pfizer and Moderna each week, and in fact this week we will make available 28 million doses of these vaccines. This is more than enough supply to continue the current pace of vaccinations of 3 million shots per day,” Mr. Zients said in a statement.

    Even though the reaction to the Johnson & Johnson shot is rare, any questions about the safety of the shots could bolster vaccine hesitancy.

    Nearly seven million people in the United States have received Johnson & Johnson shots so far, and roughly nine million more doses have been shipped out to the states, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The six women who developed blood clots were between the ages of 18 and 48. One woman died and a second woman in Nebraska has been hospitalized in critical condition.

    “Right now, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare,” Dr. Peter Marks, director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, and Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the C.D.C., said in a joint statement on Tuesday. “People who have received the J&J vaccine who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider.”

    Like many states, New York had already prepared for a significant drop in its supply of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after federal officials said that supplies would be limited because of a production issue at a Baltimore manufacturing plant. On Friday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said that New York expected to receive 34,900 Johnson & Johnson shots, a decrease of 88 percent from the previous week.

    Dr. Zucker, New York’s health commissioner, said that the state would honor appointments made at state-run mass vaccination sites for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine by giving people the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine instead. That vaccine requires two doses, and it was not immediately clear how the state would handle the additional strain on its supply.

    Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City said that the city would work to reschedule appointments at city-run vaccine sites, giving those people the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines instead.

    “Every site has been told this morning to stop giving the J&J shots,” he said at a news conference.

    Mr. Cuomo received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at a public appearance last month in Harlem, which he framed as an effort to boost confidence in that vaccine’s efficacy rate and to address vaccine hesitancy.

    Regulators in Europe and elsewhere are concerned about a similar issue with another coronavirus vaccine, developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University researchers. That vaccine has not been authorized for emergency use in the United States.

    Students line up for vaccines at Oakland University on Friday in Rochester, Mich. Coronavirus cases in the state have continued to rise in recent weeks.
    Credit…Emily Elconin for The New York Times

    The virus is again surging in parts of the United States, but it’s a picture with dividing lines: ominous figures in the Northeast and Upper Midwest, but largely not in the South.

    Experts are unsure what explains the split, which doesn’t correspond to vaccination levels. Some point to warmer weather in the Sun Belt, while others suspect that decreased testing is muddying the virus’s true footprint.

    The contours of where the virus is resurgent can be drawn around one figure: states that are averaging about 15 new cases a day for every 100,000 people. The 23 states — including Alabama, Mississippi and Arkansas — that have averaged that or fewer over the past week seem to be keeping cases relatively low, according to a New York Times database. Nationally, the country is averaging 21 new cases per 100,000 people.

    In the 27 states above that line, though, things have been trending for the worse. Michigan has the highest surge of all, reporting the most drastic increase in cases and hospitalizations in recent weeks. Illinois, Minnesota and others have also reported worrisome increases.

    Nationally, reported cases in the United States are growing again after a steep fall from the post-holiday peak in January. In the past two weeks, new confirmed cases have jumped about 11 percent, even though vaccinations picked up considerably, with an average of 3.2 million doses given daily.

    Some Southern states, like Alabama and Mississippi, are lagging in vaccinations. Only about 28 percent of people in each state have received at least one shot, according to a New York Times vaccine tracker. Still, case counts continue to drop in both states.

    Health experts say cases are rising in the Northeast and Upper Midwest for several reasons, including pandemic fatigue, the reopening of schools and the resumption of youth sports.

    Hospitalizations tend to follow the trend line in cases by a few weeks, and have been rising in some states, most notably in Michigan.

    Officials are also concerned about the spread of more contagious virus variants, especially B.1.1.7, first identified in Britain. The variant is now the leading source of new coronavirus infections in the United States, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last week.

    Just why those factors might affect some states more than others is hard to pinpoint, experts say.

    Dr. David Rubin, the director of PolicyLab at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said warmer weather in Southern states and California was probably playing a role, because it allows people to gather outdoors, with less risk of transmission.

    New case reports have fallen by about 11 percent in Georgia over the past two weeks. And in Alabama, new cases are down roughly 29 percent, with a 17 percent decline in hospitalizations.

    Some experts say, though, that reduced testing in some states could be obscuring the true picture. Testing in Alabama, for instance, has started to dip, but the share of tests that come back positive has remained high, at 11.1 percent, compared with a nationwide average of 5.1 percent, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

    “People who are symptomatic and go to their provider are going to get a test,” said Dr. Michael Saag, the associate dean for global health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, but “the desire for people to go get tested just because they want to know what their status is has dropped off dramatically.”

    Still, Dr. Saag said, there is probably not a hidden spike in cases in Alabama right now, since hospitalizations in the state remain low.

    The first dawn prayers of Ramadan around the Kaaba at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, on Tuesday.
    Credit…Amr Nabil/Associated Press

    Millions of Muslims on Tuesday began celebrating a second Ramadan in the middle of the pandemic, although in many countries the first day of the holy month offered the promise of a Ramadan with fewer restrictions than last year.

    Mosques across the Middle East and other parts of the world were closed for prayer last year, and lockdowns prevented festive gatherings with friends and family. In Jerusalem, for instance, the Old City was largely empty and the Aqsa Mosque compound was closed to the public, as coronavirus cases were surging.

    But a large degree of normalcy was back on Tuesday: The Old City’s narrow alleys were crowded, sweet shops were preparing Ramadan desserts, clothing stores were open and the Aqsa compound was welcoming worshipers.

    “Last year, I felt depressed and I didn’t know how long the pandemic would last,” said Riyad Deis, a co-owner of a spice and dried fruit shop in the Old City, while selling whole pieces of turmeric and Medjool dates to a customer. “Now, I’m relaxed, I have enough money to provide for my family and people are purchasing goods from my shop — it’s a totally different reality.”

    The enthusiasm of some didn’t mean the Ramadan would go as normal. Across several countries in the Middle East, the authorities imposed limitations on customs and festivities, requiring that mosques enforce social distancing and telling worshipers to bring their own prayer rugs and to wear face masks.

    In Dubai, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, taraweeh, the optional extra prayers that worshipers can observe at night, were capped at half an hour. No one will also be allowed to spend the night in a mosque, as is common during the last 10 days of Ramadan.

    Mosques around the region were also prohibited from serving the fast-breaking meal of iftar or the predawn meal of suhoor. Though Muslims could still gather for those meals with friends and family, the authorities asked them to limit those gatherings this year.

    In Jerusalem, Omar Kiswani, the director of Al Aqsa Mosque, said he was overjoyed that the compound was open to worshipers, but still urged caution.

    “These are times of great happiness — we hope the blessed Aqsa Mosque will return to its pre-pandemic glory — but these are also times of caution because the virus is still out there,” Mr. Kiswani said.

    In Egypt, government officials and prominent television hosts linked to the authorities warned Egyptians of a third wave of infections as Ramadan approached, hinting that another curfew or other lockdown restrictions could be imposed if cases rose.

    “If you want the houses of God to remain open,” Nouh Elesawy, an official who oversees mosques at the Egyptian Ministry of Endowments, said earlier this month, “adhere to the precautionary procedures and regulations.”

    The Ramadan restrictions may hit the hardest in poor neighborhoods, where residents depend on iftar banquets usually sponsored by wealthy individuals or organizations. For those people, feasting and Ramadan gifts are likely to be rarer, with tourism still at a trickle and many small businesses still suffering from the economic effects of the pandemic.

    In Lebanon and Syria, the pandemic has worsened economic crisis that will likely squeeze people’s ability to enjoy the holy month, more than the governments’ limited restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus.

    In Syria, where experts say the official infection and death numbers for Covid-19 are far below the reality, the government has few restrictions in place. Worshipers will even be allowed to stand in line inside of mosques to pray together after breaking their fast, the Syrian Ministry of Religious Affairs said.

    In Lebanon, which emerged recently from a strict lockdown, shops and restaurants can operate regularly during the day but must offer only delivery service during a nighttime curfew from 9:30 p.m. to 5 a.m.

    Global Roundup

    Administering a coronavirus vaccine to a frontline worker in New Delhi, last week.
    Credit…Rebecca Conway for The New York Times

    India said on Tuesday that it would fast-track the approval of vaccines in use in other countries, a move aimed at rapidly increasing the country’s vaccine supply as it battles what is currently the world’s biggest coronavirus outbreak.

    The Indian government said that it would grant emergency authorization to any foreign-made vaccine that had been approved for use by regulators in the United States, the European Union, Britain or Japan, or by the World Health Organization. The move had been recommended by a panel of Indian scientists and eliminates a requirement for drug companies to conduct local clinical trials.

    “The decision will facilitate quicker access to such foreign vaccines” and encourage imports of materials that would boost India’s vaccine manufacturing capacity, the government said in a statement.

    Earlier on Tuesday, India’s top drug regulator granted emergency approval to Sputnik V, the Russian-made vaccine, adding a third vaccine to the country’s arsenal on the same day that health officials recorded 161,736 new coronavirus infections in 24 hours.

    It was the seventh straight day that India has added more than 100,000 cases, according to a New York Times database. Only the United States has seen a faster rise in infections during the pandemic.

    India has administered about 105 million domestically produced vaccine doses for a population of 1.3 billion, but it is widely believed that the country needs to scale up inoculations rapidly because other measures have failed to control the virus. Many states have reimposed partial lockdowns and weekend curfews. In the country’s financial hub, Mumbai, health officials are racing to erect field hospitals as facilities report shortages of oxygen, ventilators and coronavirus testing kits.

    And there is the risk of a superspreading event with the gathering of millions of Hindu pilgrims for the annual Kumbh Mela festival on the banks of the Ganges River, where the authorities say they are powerless to enforce social distancing.

    India’s outbreak is reverberating worldwide as its pharmaceutical industry — which was supposed to manufacture and export hundreds of millions of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine — is keeping most supplies at home. The approval of the Sputnik vaccine, whose first doses are expected to be available for use in weeks, offers hope that India could speed up its inoculation drive.

    But it is unclear at this stage whether India will be able to procure significant quantities of other vaccines, including the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson shots in use in the United States. Major Western nations have accumulated much of the global supply of those vaccines and manufacturers are struggling to meet the surging demand.

    India will import millions of Sputnik doses from Russia and then begin manufacturing the vaccine domestically, officials said. More than 850 million doses will be made, with some intended for export, Kirill Dmitriev, chief executive of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, a sovereign wealth fund that has financed the vaccine’s development, said in an interview with India’s NDTV channel.

    “India is a vaccine-manufacturing hub and our strategic partner for production of Sputnik V,” Mr. Dmitriev said.

    India has more than 13.6 million confirmed coronavirus cases, the second most after the United States, and 171,058 deaths, the fourth highest toll.

    In other news around the world:

    Chancellor Angela Merkel, center, at a cabinet meeting in Berlin on Tuesday. Her government’s proposal on coronavirus restrictions would place half the country over the threshold for lockdown.
    Credit…Pool photo by Andreas Gora

    BERLIN — Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government moved a step closer on Tuesday to securing the right to force restrictions on areas where the coronavirus is spreading rapidly, overriding state leaders reluctant to take action.

    Ms. Merkel and her ministers approved a legislative proposal that would make it easier for the national government to enforce lockdowns and other limits on movement in regions where infection levels pass a set threshold. At current levels, it could lock down more than half of the country.

    Under Germany’s decentralized leadership structures, the 16 state leaders have been meeting regularly with the chancellor to agree on nationwide coronavirus response policies. But with different regions experiencing different rates of infection, some state leaders have been reluctant to enforce the agreed limitations, leading to confusion and frustration among many Germans.

    “I believe this amendment is as important as it is an urgent decision about how to proceed in the coronavirus pandemic,” the chancellor told reporters after meeting with her ministers.

    Parliament still has to debate and approve the proposal, which would take the form of an amendment to the Protection Against Infection Act, and that process is expected to begin this week.

    “We are in a situation where an emergency mechanism is necessary,” Ralph Brinkhaus, the leader of the Christian Democratic Union in Parliament, told reporters, before a meeting of his party lawmakers to discuss the amendment.

    Under the proposed amendment, the federal government could force stores and cultural institutions to close and enforce limits on the number of people allowed to meet up in any region where infections surpass 100 new cases per 100,000 residents over a period of seven days.

    More controversially, the law would also allow Ms. Merkel’s government to order that schools and day care centers close if the number of new infections reaches more than 200 per 100,000 inhabitants. Schools fall under the jurisdiction of the states, and local leaders are reluctant to relinquish that control.

    Germany has registered more than three million infections and more than 78,700 deaths from Covid-19 since the virus began moving through the country last spring. It recorded 10,810 new cases of infection on Tuesday, bringing the national rate of infection to more than 140 per 100,000.

    The number of patients in intensive care is expected to hit a record this month, as the country struggles to vaccinate enough people to get ahead of the spread of the highly contagious B.1.1.7 variant.

    Vaccinations at a mosque in London earlier this month. Britain’s program has reached over 32 million people, more than half the adult population.
    Credit…Andrew Testa for The New York Times

    Britain has now offered vaccinations to everyone in the country age 50 and older, the government announced late on Monday, and is extending its program to another age group, the latest sign that the national rollout is continuing at pace.

    On Tuesday, the authorities opened vaccinations to anyone 45 or older, yet the announcement came with a small hiccup: The website for the country’s National Health Service crashed for a short time after the younger cohort was invited to book appointments online.

    The new step in the country’s vaccine rollout comes as the authorities eased several restrictions in England on Monday after months of stringent lockdowns, with pubs and restaurants opened for drinks and dining outside, and nonessential shops once again opening their doors.

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the moment a “hugely significant milestone” and in a statement thanked those involved with the vaccine rollout. Mr. Johnson said the country was on track to offer all adults a vaccination by the end of July. More than 32 million people across Britain have received their first dose of one of the vaccines, according to government data.

    The government said it had also already offered vaccinations to every health or care worker, and to everyone with a high-risk medical condition.

    England has also began rolling out the Moderna vaccine, which will be offered as an alternative alongside the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine for those under 30, instead of AstraZeneca’s, which has been the mainstay of Britain’s program so far.

    There have been concerns about a possible link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and very rare blood clots, and last week British regulators said an alternative should be provided for younger people. Potential infection still poses much greater risks than any vaccine side effect for all those over 30, they said, and could do so for younger people if cases surged again.

    “The Moderna rollout marks another milestone in the vaccination program,” Stephen Powis, the medical director of the National Health Service, said in a statement. “We now have a third jab in our armory.”

    The vaccination program, he added, “is our hope at the end of a year like no other” as he encouraged people to book their appointments.

    But despite the hopeful vaccine news and the return to public life, the country is still battling new cases of the virus, and a cluster in two London neighborhoods of a worrisome variant first discovered in South Africa has prompted mass testing. Health workers have gone door to door to urge residents to get tested, even if they are not showing symptoms, as dozens of cases have emerged. Similar measures were carried out elsewhere in the city earlier this month.

    Studies have shown that the variant contains a mutation that diminishes the vaccines’ effectiveness against it. Dr. Susan Hopkins, the chief medical adviser for the country’s test and trace campaign, said the cluster of cases in parts of South London was “significant.”

    “It’s really important people in the local area play their part in stopping any further spread within the local community,” she said in a statement.

    Pacific Palace, a dim sum restaurant on a commercial strip in the Sunset Park section of Brooklyn, has seen revenue plunge.
    Credit…Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

    More than a year after the coronavirus first swept through New York, the streets of Sunset Park in southern Brooklyn reflect the pandemic’s deep and unhealed wounds intertwined with signs of a neighborhood trying to edge back to life.

    The sidewalks are filling with shoppers and vendors. More businesses are welcoming customers. But owners still struggle to pay rent and keep their enterprises afloat, while many workers laid off after the city locked down last year remain without jobs.

    And while the rate of vaccination in New York has increased significantly, the coronavirus still percolates through this densely packed neighborhood. The ZIP code that includes Sunset Park had the highest rate of positive cases in Brooklyn in early April, nearly double the citywide rate. Some residents have expressed skepticism about the vaccines, spooked by false information circulated over TikTok and other social media.

    Adding to the stress is a spate of hate crimes and violence against people of Asian descent in New York and around the country, fed in some cases by racist claims that Asian-Americans are responsible for spreading the virus.

    About a third of the residents in Sunset Park have received at least one dose of the vaccine, roughly the same level as the city overall, according to the city health data. But local leaders say they want to push that number much higher.

    Kuan Neng, 49, the Buddhist monk who founded Xi Fang Temple on Eighth Avenue, said that people had come to him in recent weeks to express concerns over vaccines.

    “Why do I need to do that?” is a common refrain, according to Mr. Kuan, followed by: “I’m healthy now. The hard times are over, more or less.”

    “Many people want to delay and see,” Mr. Kuan said, himself included.

    The owner of the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood and 15 other movie theaters said it would not reopen after the pandemic.
    Credit…Kate Warren for The New York Times

    ArcLight Cinemas, a beloved chain of movie theaters based in Los Angeles, including the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, will permanently close all its locations, Pacific Theaters announced on Monday, after the pandemic decimated the cinema business.

    ArcLight’s locations in and around Hollywood have played host to many a movie premiere, in addition to being favorite spots for moviegoers seeking out blockbusters and prestige titles. They are operated by Pacific Theaters, which also manages a handful of theaters under the Pacific name, and are owned by Decurion.

    “After shutting our doors more than a year ago, today we must share the difficult and sad news that Pacific will not be reopening its ArcLight Cinemas and Pacific Theaters locations,” the company said in a statement.

    “This was not the outcome anyone wanted,” it added, “but despite a huge effort that exhausted all potential options, the company does not have a viable way forward.”

    Between the Pacific and ArcLight brands, the company owned 16 theaters and more than 300 screens.

    The movie theater business has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic. But in recent weeks, the majority of the country’s largest theater chains, including AMC and Regal Cinemas, have reopened in anticipation of the slate of Hollywood films that have been put back on the calendar, many after repeated delays because of pandemic restrictions. A touch of optimism is even in the air as a result of the Warner Bros. movie “Godzilla vs. Kong,” which has generated some $70 million in box office receipts since opening over Easter weekend.

    Still, the industry’s trade organization, the National Association of Theater Owners, has long warned that the punishing closures were most likely to affect smaller regional players like ArcLight and Pacific. In March, the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema chain, which operates about 40 locations across the country, announced that it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection but would keep most of its locations operational while it restructured.

    That does not seem to be the case for Pacific Theaters, which, according to two people with knowledge of the matter, fired its entire staff on Monday.

    The reaction to ArcLight’s closing around Hollywood has been emotional, including an outpouring on Twitter.

    Firefighters at the site of COVID-19 hospital Matei Bals, after a fire broke out in one of its buildings in Bucharest, Romania, in January.
    Credit…Robert Ghement/EPA, via Shutterstock

    Three people infected with the coronavirus died at a hospital in Bucharest on Monday evening after the oxygen supply stopped functioning, according to the authorities, the latest incident involving oxygen failure, which in many countries has driven up the virus death toll.

    It was also another fatal setback for Romania’s ageing and overwhelmed health care system, which has suffered two fires in Covid-19 wards in recent months, killing at least 15 people.

    Ventilators shut down at a mobile intensive care unit set up at the Victor Babes hospital in Bucharest after oxygen pressure reached too high a level, the country’s health authorities said in a statement, depriving patients of a vital supply. In addition to the three patients who died, five others were evacuated and moved to other facilities in the city.

    Romania has recorded its highest rate of Covid-19 patients in intensive care units since the pandemic began, and on Sunday Prime Minister Florin Citu said that there were just six intensive care beds available across Romania, out of nearly 1,600.

    Intensive care units in Hungary and Poland have also been at risk of being overwhelmed, as much of Eastern Europe has struggled to cope with a third wave of infections across the continent. Some Hungarian hospitals have sought medical students and volunteers to assist in Covid-19 wards, giving training to those without previous medical experience.

    The mobile unit struck by the oxygen problem on Monday had only been in operation since Saturday, and it has epitomized long-running concerns over the country’s fragile health care system. In January, five patients died and a further 102 were evacuated from a different hospital in Bucharest after a fire broke out. In November, 10 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus died after a fire broke out in a hospital in the northeastern city of Piatra Neamt.

    Romania’s spending on health care is among the lowest in the European Union, with just over five percent of gross domestic product allocated toward it, compared with 10 percent on average among other countries of the bloc.

    More than 25,000 people who tested positive for the virus have died in Romania, and the authorities have closed schools and kindergartens throughout April as part of an extended Easter holiday.

    The authorities have so far administered more than 3.5 million vaccine doses, in a population of about 19 million.

    Alisa Stephens, a biostatistician at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, had to manage work and taking care of her children after the city went into lockdown last year.
    Credit…Hannah Yoon for The New York Times

    Studies have found that women in academia have published fewer papers, led fewer clinical trials and received less recognition for their expertise during the pandemic.

    Add to that the emotional upheaval of the pandemic, the protests over structural racism, worry about children’s mental health and education, and the lack of time to think or work, and an already unsustainable situation becomes unbearable.

    Michelle Cardel, an obesity researcher at the University of Florida, worries that this confluence of factors could push some women to leave the sciences.

    “My big fear is that we are going to have a secondary epidemic of loss, particularly of early career women in STEM,” she said.

    Female scientists were struggling even before the pandemic. It was not unusual for them to hear that women were not as smart as men, or that a woman who was successful must have received a handout along the way, said Daniela Witten, a biostatistician at the University of Washington in Seattle.

    Women in academia often have little recourse when confronted with discrimination. Their institutions sometimes lack the human resources structures common in the business world.

    Compounding the frustration are outdated notions about how to help women in science. But social media has allowed women to share some of those concerns and find allies to organize and call out injustice when they see it, said Jessica Hamerman, an immunologist at the Benaroya Research Institute in Seattle.

    In November, for example, a study on female scientists was published in the influential journal Nature Communications suggesting that having female mentors would hinder the career of young scientists and recommending that young women seek out male help.

    The response was intense and unforgiving: Nearly 7,600 scientists signed a petition calling on the journal to retract the paper — which it did on Dec. 21.

    The study arrived at a time when many female scientists were already worried about the pandemic’s effect on their careers, and already on edge and angry with a system that offered them little support.

    Alisa Stephens found working from home to be a series of wearying challenges. Dr. Stephens is a biostatistician at the University of Pennsylvania, and carving out the time and mental space for that work with two young children at home was impossible.

    Things eased once the family could safely bring in a nanny, but there was still little time for the deep thought Dr. Stephens had relied on each morning for her work.

    Over time, she has adjusted her expectations of herself. “Maybe I’m at 80 percent as opposed to 100 percent,” she said, “but I can get things done at 80 percent to some extent.”

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    Covid-19 Surges in Northeast, Upper Midwest, but not South

    The virus is again surging in parts of the United States, but it’s a picture with dividing lines: ominous figures in the Northeast and Upper Midwest, but largely not in the South.

    Experts are unsure what explains the split, which doesn’t correspond to vaccination levels. Some point to warmer weather in the Sun Belt, while others suspect that decreased testing is muddying the virus’s true footprint.

    The contours of where the virus is resurgent can be drawn around one figure: states that are averaging about 15 new cases a day for every 100,000 people. The 23 states — including Alabama, Mississippi and Arkansas — that have averaged that or fewer over the past week seem to be keeping cases relatively low, according to a New York Times database. Nationally, the country is averaging 21 new cases per 100,000 people.

    In the 27 states above that line, though, things have been trending for the worse. Michigan has the highest surge of all, reporting the most drastic increase in cases and hospitalizations in recent weeks. Illinois, Minnesota and others have also reported worrisome increases.

    3.2 million doses given daily.

    Some Southern states, like Alabama and Mississippi, are lagging in vaccinations. Only about 28 percent of people in each state have received at least one shot, according to a New York Times vaccine tracker. Still, case counts continue to drop in both states.

    Health experts say cases are rising in the Northeast and Upper Midwest for several reasons, including pandemic fatigue, the reopening of schools and the resumption of youth sports.

    Hospitalizations tend to follow the trend line in cases by a few weeks, and have been rising in some states, most notably in Michigan.

    Officials are also concerned about the spread of more contagious virus variants, especially B.1.1.7, first identified in Britain. The variant is now the leading source of new coronavirus infections in the United States, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last week.

    Georgia over the past two weeks. And in Alabama, new cases are down roughly 29 percent, with a 17 percent decline in hospitalizations.

    Some experts say, though, that reduced testing in some states could be obscuring the true picture. Testing in Alabama, for instance, has started to dip, but the share of tests that come back positive has remained high, at 11.1 percent, compared with a nationwide average of 5.1 percent, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

    “People who are symptomatic and go to their provider are going to get a test,” said Dr. Michael Saag, the associate dean for global health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, but “the desire for people to go get tested just because they want to know what their status is has dropped off dramatically.”

    Still, Dr. Saag said, there is probably not a hidden spike in cases in Alabama right now, since hospitalizations in the state remain low.

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    The struggle against vaccine hesitancy comes to Mississippi.

    When it comes to getting a coronavirus vaccine, Mississippi residents have an abundance of options. On Thursday, there were more than 73,000 slots to be had on the state’s scheduling website, up from 68,000 on Tuesday.

    In some ways, that growing availability of appointments is something to celebrate: It reflects the mounting supplies that have prompted states across the country to open up eligibility to anyone over 16. But public health experts say it also exposes something more worrisome: the large number of people who are reluctant to be inoculated.

    “It’s time to do the heavy lifting needed to overcome the hesitancy we’re encountering,” said Dr. Obie McNair, an internal medicine practitioner in Jackson, the state capital.

    Although access remains a problem in rural Mississippi, experts say that the state — which three weeks ago became one of the first to open eligibility to all adults — may be a harbinger of what much of the country will confront in the coming weeks as increasing supplies enable most Americans who want the vaccine to easily make appointments.

    in one recent survey indicated a lower willingness to be vaccinated than Hispanic or white people.

    The hesitancy has national implications. Experts say that 70 to 90 percent of people in the United States must be vaccinated for the country to reach herd immunity, the point at which the virus can no longer spread through the population.

    In Mississippi, a quarter of all residents have received at least one vaccine dose, compared with the nationwide average of 33 percent, according to state data. Other Southern states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia and Tennessee, have similarly low rates of vaccination.

    Some other heavily Republican states are also finding themselves with surfeits of doses. Officials in Oklahoma, which has delivered at least one dose to 34 percent of its residents, said on Thursday that they would open up eligibility to out-of-state residents. In recent weeks, Republican governors in Ohio and Georgia voiced concern about lackluster vaccine demand among their residents.

    Tim Callaghan, an assistant professor at the Texas A&M University School of Public Health and an expert on vaccine skepticism, said that more research was needed to determine the reasons behind Mississippi’s slackening vaccine demand, but that states with large rural populations, Republican voters and African-Americans were likely to be the first to confront the problem.

    “If you’re looking to see vaccine hesitancy to emerge,” he said, “it’s going to be in red states like Mississippi.”

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    Texas Bans Agencies and Some Businesses From Requiring Covid Vaccine Proof

    Under a new executive order issued by Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas this week, government agencies, private businesses and institutions that receive state funding cannot require people to show proof that they have been vaccinated against the coronavirus.

    Mr. Abbott said that vaccination status is private health information, and that no one should have to disclose it as a condition of engaging in normal activities. His order includes an exception allowing nursing homes and similar care facilities to require documentation of vaccination status for their residents.

    A wide range of businesses, including cruise lines and airlines, are eager for people to be issued some kind of credential, often called a vaccine passport, that they can present to show they are immunized so that the businesses can more safely reopen, especially as the number of new virus cases rises across the country.

    But a growing number of Republicans are politicizing the issue and framing proof-of-vaccination requirements and vaccine passports as government overreach. Last year many Republican governors rejected mask mandates for similar reasons, often calling the requirement to wear masks in public settings a violation of a citizen’s personal liberties, despite overwhelming evidence that masks stem the spread of the virus.

    Gov. Tate Reeves of Mississippi said he opposes the idea of vaccine passports, and last week, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, issued an executive order banning policies that would require that customers provide any proof of vaccination. Gov. Pete Ricketts of Nebraska has said his state would not participate in any vaccine passport program. Gov. Mike Parson of Missouri has said that he would not require vaccine passports in the state but was also not opposed to private companies adopting them.

    Vaccine passports, including digital ones, raise daunting political, ethical and privilege questions. The Biden administration has made clear that it will neither issue nor require the passports.

    Legal experts said there may be questions, depending on state law, about whether governors are authorized to bar requests for vaccination status by executive decree. But they said State Legislatures are most likely free to enact statutes to do so.

    In 1905, the Supreme Court ruled that states can enforce compulsory vaccination laws. For more than a century, that ruling has let public schools require proof of vaccinations of its students, with some exceptions for religious objections.

    Private companies, moreover, are free to refuse to employ or do business with whomever they want, subject to just a few exceptions that do not include vaccination status. But states can probably override that freedom by enacting a law barring discrimination based on vaccination status.

    Adam Liptak and Sheryl Gay Stolberg contributed reporting.

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    Alabama to Open Vaccination to People 16 and Older

    Alabama will allow everyone ages 16 or older to sign up for a Covid-19 vaccine on Monday, joining more than 40 states that have already broadened access in an effort to make all adults eligible by the end of the month.

    “This vaccine is our ticket back to normal life,” Gov. Kay Ivey, a Republican, said in a statement on her website. “We are so close to getting Covid-19 in the rearview, and until then, we should all keep wearing our masks, get vaccinated and use the common sense the good Lord gave us.”

    While states are moving to vaccinate people faster, they are also easing restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus as Americans tire of the constraints more than a year into the pandemic. President Biden warned on Friday that the virus is still not under control and measures like mask wearing need to stay in place.

    “I ask, I plead with you, don’t give up the progress we have all fought so hard to achieve,” Mr. Biden said at the White House.

    expires on April 9.

    Almost three million people are being vaccinated across the country per day, according to the seven-day average released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday.

    But only about 25 percent of Alabama’s total population has gotten one shot of a vaccine, below the national average of 31 percent, according to the C.D.C. Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi are tied as the states with the smallest percentage of people who have received at least one shot.

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    Hiring Jumped in March, Fueled by Vaccines and Federal Aid: Live Updates

    Employers added 916,000 jobs in March, up from 416,000 in February and the most since August, the Labor Department said Friday. The leisure and hospitality sector led the way, adding 280,000 jobs as Americans returned to restaurants and resorts in greater numbers. Construction firms added 110,000 jobs as the housing market stayed strong and activity resumed following winter storms in February.

    The unemployment rate fell to 6 percent, down from 6.2 percent in February.

    “March’s jobs report is the most optimistic report since the pandemic began,” said Daniel Zhao, senior economist of the career site Glassdoor. “It’s not the largest gain in payrolls since the pandemic began, but it’s the first where it seems like the finish line is in sight.”

    The report came one year after the pandemic ripped a hole in the American labor market. The U.S. economy lost 1.7 million jobs in March 2020 and more than 20 million in April, when the unemployment rate peaked at nearly 15 percent.

    The job market bounced back quickly at first, but progress began to slow as virus cases surged and states reimposed restrictions on businesses. Over the winter, the recovery stalled out, with employers cutting more than 300,000 jobs in December.

    Economists said the latest data marked a turning point. Last month was the third straight month of accelerating hiring, and even bigger gains are likely in the months ahead. The March data was collected early in the month, before most states broadened vaccine access and before most Americans began receiving $1,400 checks from the federal government as part of the most recent relief package.

    “The tide is turning,” said Michelle Meyer, chief U.S. economist for Bank of America. The report, she said, “reaffirms this idea that the economy is accelerating meaningfully in the spring.”

    The United States still has 8.4 million fewer jobs than it did before the pandemic. Even if employers kept hiring at the pace they did in March, it would take months to fill the gap. More than four million people have been out of work for more than six months, a number that continued rising in March.

    And the virus remains a risk. Coronavirus cases are rising again in much of the country as states have begun easing restrictions. If that trend turns into a full-blown new wave of infections, it could force some states to backpedal, impeding the recovery.

    But few economists expect a repeat of the winter, when a spike in Covid-19 cases pushed the recovery into reverse. More than a quarter of U.S. adults have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, and more than two million people a day are being inoculated. That should allow economic activity to continue to rebound.

    “This time is different, and that’s because of vaccines,” said Julia Pollak, a labor economist at the job site ZipRecruiter. “It’s real this time.”

    An expanded measure of the jobless rate that adjusts for misclassified workers and those on the sidelines shows that the “real” rate was around 9.1 percent in March.
    Credit…Charles Krupa/Associated Press

    The labor market is healing, pushing the unemployment rate steadily lower. But alternative measures of the job market show more weakness remaining than the most frequently cited data might suggest.

    When the pandemic hit the economy, two big issues began to mess with the unemployment rate. A big chunk of people were classified as “employed but not at work” when they should have been counted as laid off. And many people dropped out of the labor market altogether. Since the unemployment rate only counts people who are actively applying to jobs, that means a lot of would-be workers were suddenly left out.

    The jobless rate fell to 6 percent in March from a high of 14.8 percent in April, but that overstates the labor market’s healing. An expanded measure that adjusts for misclassified workers and those on the sidelines — using a methodology that closely tracks a gauge Federal Reserve officials often reference — shows that the “real” unemployment rate was around 9.1 percent in March.

    To be sure, that expanded measure is down sharply from a peak of nearly 24 percent last April. But it shows the extent of the damage yet to be repaired since the pandemic shuttered broad parts of the economy in 2020.

    Fed officials, who are tasked with returning the labor market to maximum employment, are keeping a close eye on broad measures of slack as they try to assess how far the job market remains from full strength. Another point they often raise is that total employment in the economy remains well below its prepandemic level — as of March, 8.4 million jobs were missing compared with February 2020.

    “It’s just a lot of people who need to get back to work and it’s not going to happen overnight, it’s going to take some time,” Jerome H. Powell, the Federal Reserve chair, said at a news conference last month.

    The Saudi oil minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, is arguably the most powerful individual in the oil business. 
    Credit…Ahmed Yosri/Reuters

    For months, Saudi Arabia’s oil minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, arguably the most powerful individual in the oil business, has urged his fellow producers to keep a tight rein on output, fearing additional crude could flood the world’s markets and cause prices to drop. At the same time, some producers, notably Russia, have been chafing to open the spigot a bit more.

    On Thursday, the prince seemed to relent, as the group called OPEC Plus — the members of Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies like Russia — agreed to modest output increases over the next three months.

    Analysts said the prince, who is the chair of OPEC Plus, appeared to be calculating that by appeasing other producers who want to produce more oil, he can remain in control over the longer term.

    The prince repeated his go-slow message on Thursday, arguing that the global economic recovery from the pandemic remained fragile, and so his willingness to sign off on an increase came as something of a surprise. But the decision seemed to be an acknowledgment of the diversity of opinions within OPEC Plus, and that he must take the views of other key producers like Russia and the United Arab Emirates into account to maintain leadership and to keep them from going their own way.

    “It is not my decision, it is everybody’s decision,” he said at a news conference after Thursday’s OPEC Plus meeting.

    So far traders have signaled their approval by pushing up prices in what had been a weak market. On Friday, Brent crude, the international benchmark was up about 3.4 percent to $64.86 a barrel.

    Under the deal agreed Thursday, OPEC Plus will gradually increase production by 350,000 barrels a day in May and June and 441,000 barrels a day in July. Over the same period, the Saudis will also relax the one million barrels a day they have been voluntarily keeping off the market, bringing the total increase to about 2.1 million barrels a day by July.

    The plan “points to a still cautious and orderly ramp-up from OPEC Plus, still allowing for a tight oil market,” rather than a flood, analysts at Goldman Sachs wrote in a note to clients on Thursday.

    OPEC Plus also retain the option of adjusting output at monthly meetings. Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest exporter, can also take unilateral decisions to trim supplies.

    This ability to quickly backtrack “provides the prince with comfort that he is exercising a fairly low-risk option,” Helima Croft, a strategist at RBC Capital Markets, wrote in a note to clients.

    Shoppers at a Bed, Bath & Beyond last month. With the vaccine rollout accelerating, economists expect Americans to start spending again.
    Credit…Mark Lennihan/Associated Press

    Economists think the big job gains reported on Friday are just the beginning. One reason: Americans have plenty of cash, and they are ready to spend it.

    U.S. households had $2.4 trillion in savings in February, $1 trillion more than a year earlier. And that was before the latest wave of $1,400 relief checks started going out in March.

    The primary factor holding back spending has been the pandemic, which has prevented people from spending on restaurant meals, vacations and concert tickets. But with the vaccine rollout accelerating, that could soon change.

    About 35 percent of Americans plan to spend more on travel over the next 12 months than they do in a typical year, according to a survey conducted last month for The New York Times by the online research firm SurveyMonkey. About 28 percent plan to spend more than usual at restaurants. And over all, close to 70 percent of adults plan to spend more than usual in at least one category, at least if the health situation allows.

    “They have the money in the bank, they’re ready to spend it, but what was holding them back was not having a comfort about being able to go out,” said Jay Bryson, chief economist for Wells Fargo. “We’re getting into a critical mass of people that are feeling comfortable beginning to go out again.”

    But there are signs that Americans remain cautious. The survey was conducted in mid-March, just as the Treasury was preparing to send the $1,400 checks to millions of households. More than half the survey respondents who expected to receive checks said they planned to save most of the money or pay down debt. One-third said they would use it for immediate needs like food or rent. Only 10 percent said they planned to spend most of the money on discretionary items.

    And while many Americans may be dreaming up ways to spend the money they saved during the pandemic, those hardest hit by the crisis are still trying to regain their financial footing. Among the unemployed, 62 percent said they planned to use their stimulus check to meet immediate needs, compared with 29 percent of the employed. Only 3 percent of the unemployed said they planned to use their stimulus checks on discretionary purchases.

    Tesla said on Friday that it more than doubled the number of cars it delivered in the first quarter, bouncing back after the coronavirus slowed sales in the same period a year ago.

    The electric carmaker said it sold 184,8000 vehicles in the first three months of the year, up from 88,500 a year ago. It produced 180,338 vehicles, compared to 102,672 in the first quarter of 2020.

    Tesla was helped by the arrival of the Model Y, a roomier version of its Model 3 sedan. Those two cars accounted for almost all of its deliveries in the first quarter. It reported just 2,020 deliveries of its high-end cars — the Model S luxury sedan and the Model X sport-utility vehicle.

    Ford and enjoyed substantial increases in sales to individual customers at dealerships while reporting declines in sales to fleet operators.
    Credit…Brittany Greeson for The New York Times

    General Motors reported a modest rise in car sales in North America for the first quarter, but its operations continue to be hampered by a shortage of computer chips.

    G.M. said on Thursday that it sold 642,250 cars and light trucks in the first three months of the year, up just 4 percent even though sales a year ago slowed sharply as the coronavirus pandemic took hold.

    By contrast, Toyota Motor showed a strong rebound in sales compared with a year ago. The Japanese company reported that sales in North America jumped 22 percent in the first three months of 2021, to 603,066 cars and light trucks. Its March sales were a record high for that month.

    Toyota’s big jump helped it outsell Ford Motor, which has also been hit by the semiconductor shortage. Ford’s sales in the first quarter were up just 1 percent, to 521,334. Stellantis — the company formed by the merger of Fiat Chrysler and France’s Peugeot SA — reported its U.S. sales increased 5 percent in the first quarter.

    Ford and G.M. both enjoyed substantial increases in sales to individual customers at dealerships while reporting declines in sales to fleet operators like rental car companies and governments.

    G.M. and Ford have had to halt or slow production at a handful of plants. G.M. has resorted to making some vehicles without parts containing computer chips with the intention of installing those components before sale when supply improves.

    In a statement, G.M. said it hoped its strategy for building cars without some components would help it “quickly meet strong expected customer demand during the year.”

    That approach to building cars “underscores the dire nature” of the semiconductor shortage, an analyst at CFRA Research, Garrett Nelson, said in a report. “One of the key questions is how much better the U.S. auto sales recovery can get from here.”

    The chip shortage is reflected in G.M.’s unusually low inventory of 334,628 vehicles. That is about 76,000 less than at the end of the fourth quarter and is half the number of vehicles its dealers held in stock a year ago. Ford’s inventory was 56,100 lower than at the end of 2020.

    G.M.’s sluggish sales were confined to its Chevrolet brand, whose sales fell 2 percent in the first quarter. That included a 13 percent decline in sales of its full-size Silverado pickup truck, a critical profit maker for the company. The Buick, Cadillac and G.M.C. brands reported strong sales in the quarter.

    Toyota also reported a drop in sales of its full-size pickup, the Tundra. But the decline was more than offset by big increases in sales of its RAV4, Highlander and 4Runner sport-utility vehicles and cars from its Lexus luxury brand.

    Also on Thursday, Honda Motor reported its first-quarter sales in North America had increased 16 percent, to 347,091 vehicles.

    Ed Bastian, the chief executive of Delta, was accused by Georgia’s governor of spreading “the same false attacks being repeated by partisan activists.”
    Credit…Steve Marcus/Reuters

    For two weeks, Delta Air Lines and Coca-Cola had been under pressure from activists and Black executives who wanted the companies to publicly oppose a new law in Georgia that makes it harder for people to vote. On Wednesday, six days after the law was passed, both companies stated their “crystal clear” opposition to it.

    Now Republicans are mad at the companies for speaking out. Hours after the companies made their statements, Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, took aim at Ed Bastian, the chief executive of Delta, accusing him of spreading “the same false attacks being repeated by partisan activists.” And Republicans in the Georgia state legislature floated the idea of increasing taxes on Delta as retribution.

    On Thursday, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida posted a video in which he called Delta and Coca-Cola “woke corporate hypocrites.” Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi said Coca-Cola was “caving to the ‘woke’ left.” And Stephen Miller, an adviser to former President Donald J. Trump, said on Twitter, “Unelected, multinational corporations are now openly attacking sovereign U.S. states & the right of their citizens to secure their own elections. This is a corporate ambush on Democracy.”

    It was another illustration of just how fraught it is for big companies to wade in to partisan politics, where any support for the left draws the ire of the right, and vice versa.

    Other big Georgia companies have managed to stay on the sidelines. UPS, which is based in Atlanta, also refrained from criticizing the new law before it was passed. On Thursday, the company said it “believes that voting laws and legislation should make it easier, not harder, for Americans to exercise their right to vote.” It made no mention of the law.

    Mannequins at a Brooks Brothers warehouse in Enfield, Conn.
    Credit…Amr Alfiky/The New York Times

    In the fallout of Brooks Brothers’ bankruptcy filing and sale last year, the retailer abandoned a warehouse in Connecticut full of junk — mannequins, sewing machines and a whole section of Christmas trees.

    Ever since, the couple that owns the warehouse, Chip and Rosanna LaBonte, has been scrambling to figure out how to get rid of it all.

    Junk removal companies have told them it will cost at least $240,000 to clear the space, which Brooks Brothers had rented through November, Sapna Maheshwari and Vanessa Friedman report for The New York Times. In order to pay the bill, the LaBontes are going to have to sell their home.

    Credit…Amr Alfiky/The New York Times

    Brooks Brothers, which was founded in 1818 and is the oldest continuously operated apparel brand in the United States, began renting the warehouse in Enfield in 2011, most recently at a rate of roughly $20,000 a month.

    The couple bought the warehouse in 2010. They said that it was their first foray into commercial real estate and that they worked on residential projects before that. They have other tenants and a self-storage section, but are frustrated about the mess and the fact they can’t use the space for anything else until it is cleared.

    The couple’s plight illustrates the far-reaching consequences of retail bankruptcies, which cascaded during the pandemic and affected everyone from factory workers to executives. Smaller vendors and landlords have often been left holding the short end of the stick during lengthy byzantine bankruptcy proceedings, particularly with limits on what they can spend on legal bills compared with larger corporations. And once bankrupt brands are sold, people like the LaBontes are typically left in the dust.

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    Seven Infrastructure Problems in Urgent Need of Fixing

    Engineers say that when infrastructure works, most people do not even think about it. But they recognize it when they turn on a faucet and water does not come out, when they see levees eroding or when they inch through traffic, the driver’s awareness of the highway growing mile after creeping mile.

    President Biden has announced an ambitious $2 trillion infrastructure plan that would pump huge sums of money into improving the nation’s bridges, roads, public transportation, railways, ports and airports.

    The plan faces opposition from Republicans and business groups, who point to the enormous cost and the higher corporate taxes that Mr. Biden has proposed to pay for it.

    Still, leaders in both parties have long seen infrastructure as a possible unifying issue. Urban and rural communities, red and blue states, the coasts and the middle of the country: All are confronting weak and faltering infrastructure.

    plagued by delays and cancellations, with similar problems affecting railways along the Northeast Corridor.

    bridge has remained a source of frustration. Rusty and creaky, it has been listed as “functionally obsolete” in the federal bridge inventory since the 1990s, and it has a history of bottlenecks and crashes.

    There is a $2.5 billion plan to fix the bridge and build a new one alongside it, but in Covington, Ky., some have expressed worries about the proposal. The mayor told The Cincinnati Enquirer that it was an “existential threat,” citing the size of the proposed bridge (some traffic would still cross over the old one, as well).

    told local reporters at a news conference on Wednesday. “Hopefully somewhere in the bowels of this multitrillion bill, there’s a solution.”

    Puerto Rico

    a serious earthquake on Jan. 7.

    The collapse brought attention to the more than 600 schools on the island that shared a “short column” architectural design, which makes them vulnerable to tremors. Teachers and parents were wary of reopening, and the schools with that design risk remain closed. Children who had gone to them are still learning remotely.

    In addition, nearly 60 schools were closed after inspections following the earthquakes showed structural deficiencies. About 25 had “persistent” problems that predated the earthquake and its aftershocks, Puerto Rico’s education secretary told The New York Times last year.

    residents went weeks with a boil notice in place.

    The water crisis inflamed enduring tensions in Jackson, ones that grip many communities where white residents have fled and tax bases have evaporated. The city has old and broken pipes. It does not have the funding to repair them. City officials estimated that modernizing Jackson’s water infrastructure could cost $2 billion.

    The storm also caused power failures for millions of people across Texas, which has prompted lawmakers there to weigh an overhaul of the state’s electric infrastructure. At least 111 people died as a result of the storm, according to state officials, and it also caused widespread property damage and left some residents to face huge electric bills.

    conclusions were stark: A historic flooding event had caught up with years of underfunding and neglect.

    The country has roughly 91,000 dams, a majority of which are more than 50 years old, and many are an exceptional rainfall away from potential disaster. As dams have aged, the weather has grown more severe, rendering old building standards outdated and creating conditions that few considered when many of the dams were built.

    Residential development has also steadily spread into once rural areas that lie downstream from the weakening infrastructure. According to the Association of State Dam Safety Officials, about 15,600 dams in the country would most likely cause death and extensive property damage if they failed. Of those, more than 2,330 are considered deficient, the group said.

    is not likely to let up soon, given new weather patterns driven by climate change. And some of the officials whose towns and cities were most affected by the 2019 floods are adamant: Simply refurbishing levees is not going to work anymore.

    “Levees aren’t going to do it,” said Colin Wellenkamp, the executive director of Mississippi River Cities & Towns Initiative, an association of 100 mayors along the Mississippi River. His group presented a plan to the White House last month detailing a “systemic solution” to flooding. It includes replacing wetlands, reconnecting backwaters to the main river and opening up areas for natural flooding.

    A plan that simply replaces infrastructure, rather than rethinking what it encompasses, will be ineffective and ultimately unaffordable, Mr. Wellenkamp said. He is not sure whether his group’s proposals have been folded into the Biden plan. But he sees little choice.

    “This is a losing game unless we incorporate other, larger solutions,” he said.

    Campbell Robertson and Frances Robles contributed reporting.

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    Coronavirus Testing Declines May Mask the Spread in Some States

    Declines in coronavirus testing in many states in the South and the Great Plains are making it harder to know just how widely the virus may be spreading in those states, even as restrictions are lifted and residents ease back into daily life, experts say.

    States in both regions are reporting few new cases relative to their population, compared with harder-hit states like Michigan or New York. But they are also testing far fewer people.

    Kansas, for example, is now testing about 60 people a day for every 100,000 in population, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, and Alabama only a bit more. The picture is similar in Iowa, Mississippi and elsewhere.

    By contrast, New York is averaging 1,200 tests a day per 100,000, and Rhode Island 1,677 per 100,000.

    Testing has been falling in Kansas since Jan. 1, even though hospitalizations were at their highest level of the pandemic then, according to Tami Gurley, co-chair of the virus task force at the University of Kansas Medical Center. The state is now doing fewer tests relative to its population than any state except Idaho.

    The tests they are doing in these low-rate states are finding virus.

    Twelve percent of Kansas’ coronavirus tests are coming back positive. Alabama’s positivity rate is 12.8 percent. The rate in Idaho is 27.3 percent, highest in the country. In New York, it’s just 3.5 percent.

    So in the states that are doing relatively little testing, it’s possible that their daily case counts are low in part because asymptomatic or mild-symptom cases are going undetected.

    Ms. Gurley says she is closely following hospitalizations, as a better indicator of the spread of the virus than new-case reports.

    “We think that people are more focused on getting vaccines than getting tested,” she said. “It certainly makes it harder to figure out where we are going. We feel like we are at the point of another uptick in cases.”

    Many states in the South and Midwest have relaxed their restrictions, including mask mandates, even though the national data signals that another surge in cases may be coming, according to Edward Trapido, an epidemiologist and associate dean for research at the Louisiana State University School of Public Health.

    And many states are shifting resources away from testing to boost vaccination efforts and meet President Biden’s goal of making all adult Americans eligible for a shot by May 1.

    As a result, Dr. Trapido said, in many places these days, only the sickest patients are seeking out a coronavirus test.

    “As vaccines have become widespread, people are becoming comfortable about not being tested,” he said. “There is a natural experiment going on. It’s a battle between getting people vaccinated and keeping the percent positive low. When I see a slight change in the curve upward, I get alarmed.”

    Ms. Gurley said the shift in emphasis away from testing and toward vaccination may stem in part from widespread public fatigue with pandemic precautions and the political imperative in many states to reopen swiftly.

    If all you want to do is prevent deaths from the virus, that may make sense, she said, but “if your end goal is to prevent spread, then we need more testing.”

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