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‘Celebrate at home’: A Fourth of July plea as U.S. cases skyrocket.

Health officials are urging Americans to scale back Independence Day plans as virus case levels reach disheartening new highs, with eight states setting single-day reporting records on Tuesday.

“The safest choice this holiday is to celebrate at home,” said the Oregon Health Authority.

For Nebraskans planning to host cookouts, state leaders offered this sobering advice: Keep the guest list. It makes contact tracing easier.

And in Los Angeles County, where 10,000 new cases have been announced since Friday, the public health department ordered beaches closed and fireworks shows canceled.

The community was just one of many across the country to pull the plug on fireworks.

As many as 80 percent of displays have been canceled over concerns that social distancing would be too difficult. The 150 companies that were to put on the shows have now joined the long list of American businesses hit hard by the pandemic.

Would-be holiday celebrators heard similar pleas: Skip the party. Stay home. Don’t make a bad situation worse.

“We don’t want any more closures, but our numbers are going through the roof,” said Dr. Cameron Kaiser, the public health officer in Riverside County, Calif.

“Please don’t mix households, even if you think everyone is healthy, and instead celebrate the holiday with the people you live with,” Dr. Kaiser said. “We started seeing more and more cases after Memorial Day, and we can’t afford another jump after the Fourth of July.”

The virus outlook in the United States is bad and getting worse.

The number of new cases has shot up 82 percent, compared with two weeks ago, according to a New York Times database. With more than 48,000 new cases on Tuesday, the country set a daily record for the fourth time in a week.

More than 4,600 new cases were announced in Arizona, by far its most in a single day, as Vice President Mike Pence prepared to travel there on Wednesday. California added more than 8,100 new cases, Georgia added more than 2,400 and Texas added more than 7,900, all records.

Ahead of the Fourth of July weekend, a handful of counties announced that the beaches would be closed. In some places, parks will also be off limits. Traditional mass gatherings to watch fireworks have been canceled.

In Miami-Dade, which has seen more than 1,400 new cases a day, Mayor Carlos Gimenez banned restaurants from selling food or drink after midnight. Over the holiday weekend, hotel pools will have to close at 8 p.m., and alcohol sales will be prohibited before 11 a.m. and after 8 p.m. “There is no more patriotic an act than protecting the lives of everyone in our county,” Mr. Gimenez said in a statement.

The lieutenant governor of Texas, where cases are surging, claims Fauci ‘doesn’t know what he’s talking about.’

Dr. Fauci told lawmakers that states that try to reopen again need to carefully follow national guidance for containing the virus. Some states, he said, are moving “too quickly and skipping over some of the checkpoints.”

Mr. Patrick took issue with that, saying: “He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. We haven’t skipped over anything. The only thing I’m skipping over is listening to him.”

Texas Democrats countered that it was Mr. Patrick who did not know what he was talking about.

“He’s the least credible politician in Texas history,” said Abhi Rahman, a spokesman for the state Democratic Party. “Texans should listen to science, Fauci’s warnings, wear a mask, make sure your grandparents don’t die for the economy, and ignore Patrick once again, like we usually do.”

GLOBAL ROUNDUP

The European Union reopens its borders to international travelers and relaxes restrictions.

In Belgium, swimming pools, wellness centers, amusement parks, casinos and indoor playgrounds were among the spaces to reopen. Cinemas and theaters also opened on Wednesday.

Visitors also returned to a growing list of museums, including the Grand Palais and Centre Pompidou in Paris, and the Museum of Cycladic Art in Athens.

In the Netherlands, gatherings of up to 100 are now allowed, although the government urged people stay five feet (1.5 meters) apart. Sex work in the country is also allowed again.

Thousands of people in Prague in the Czech Republic held a symbolic farewell party for the pandemic on Tuesday, the BBC reported. Guests shared food and there was no social distancing. The country, which locked down early, has had about 350 deaths and 12,000 cases of the virus.

Some countries in the Middle East also relaxed virus-related measures on Wednesday. Restaurants in a few tourist areas in Qatar were allowed to reopen under some restrictions. Malls and shopping centers in Qatar also opened their doors, but prayer rooms and cinemas were among the spaces to remain closed.

Some flights in Lebanon and Egypt also resumed. EgyptAir began service to more than two dozen international destinations on Wednesday.

Here are other developments from around the globe:

  • In Israel, the Health Ministry announced that it recorded 773 cases on Tuesday — the highest daily case count since the contagion first emerged in Israel. It recorded 752 cases on Sunday. In the past couple of weeks, the authorities have imposed significant restrictions in locations with high numbers of cases, while allowing the rest of the country to stay largely open.

  • The Hebron region of the West Bank accounts for more than 80 percent of active virus cases in the territory, and the Palestinian Authority Health Ministry reported Wednesday that it had recorded 199 new cases, bringing the number of active cases there to 1,804. Jibrin al-Bakri, the governor of Hebron, said that the city and its surrounding villages would be locked down for five days, with all movement banned except for visits to places such as pharmacies or bakeries.

Pfizer reports early but promising results on a vaccine candidate.

Early but encouraging results on an experimental vaccine came Wednesday from Pfizer and the German company BioNTech.

The trial, a Phase 1-2 study, involved 45 people. Thirty-six received the vaccine, and nine got placebo shots. Test subjects who received two shots, three weeks apart, developed antibodies, including the so-called neutralizing type that can stop the virus from infecting cells, the company said, adding that some participants reported mild to moderate sore arms or fever.

The vaccine uses genetic material called messenger RNA, or mRNA, that contains the directions for making the spike protein that the virus uses to invade human cells. The mRNA is taken up by cells in the body, which then follow the directions and churn out the viral protein. The immune system recognizes the protein as foreign and makes antibodies that should disable the spike if the coronavirus tries to invade.

Pfizer said the findings came from one of four candidate vaccines that it has developed, and that more data from the trial will allow the company to pick a lead candidate and dose level for a much larger study that may begin as early as this month.

The company said that if its vaccine proves effective and is approved, it expects to make up to 100 million doses by the end of 2020, and “potentially more than 1.2 billion doses by the end of 2021.”

The first company to begin testing vaccines in humans, Moderna, also uses mRNA.

Adam Silver, the commissioner of the N.B.A., said Tuesday that the league could put the brakes on its attempt to close out the season in case of an outbreak among players or staff members.

The season is scheduled to restart without spectators on July 30 at Walt Disney World near Orlando, and the N.B.A. finals are scheduled to begin Sept. 30. The league went on hiatus in March with roughly 20 percent of its season left to play.

“We’re going to see as we go. I mean certainly, if cases are isolated, that’s one thing,” Silver said during a talk with Time 100, in reference to a potential outbreak on the Disney campus where N.B.A. players and staff are expected to be quarantined. “I think a lot of the determination will be our understanding of how our community became infected. That will be part of our judgment in terms of whether we should continue.”

Silver also said that he was “pretty confident” that the N.B.A. would be able to go through with its plans, in spite of Florida becoming one of the country’s hot spots. Orange County, where Walt Disney World is located, has seen a drastic rise in positive cases in the last month. But epidemiologists have largely praised the league’s plan as comprehensive.

“Our model was designed to protect us and our players from the cases in the outside community,” Silver said. “Maybe at the time we designed it, we didn’t think it would be as necessary as it is now. But at least we’re preparing for it.”

Did the George Floyd protests in New York lead to a virus surge? Here’s what we know.

The pandemic struck the Caribbean at the height of high season, when snow birds, primarily from the United States, pack the beaches for winter and spring break, and provide the revenue to see resorts and sometimes entire countries through the lull of summer and fall.

On any given day, somewhere in the United States, someone is going to wake up, leave the house and get in an argument with a stranger about wearing masks.

Rules on masks are left up to state and local governments, but enforcing them often falls to store and restaurant employees. Grocery store managers are training staff on how to handle screaming customers. Fistfights are breaking out at convenience stores. Some restaurants even say they’d rather close than face the wrath of various Americans who believe that masks, which help prevent the spread of coronavirus, impinge on their freedom.

Joe Rogers, 47, of Dallas, said he had gotten in a physical fight last week over masks.

In line at a Mini-Mart, he said he spotted an unmasked customer behind him and shook his head. The man asked why Mr. Rogers had been looking at him and Mr. Rogers, again, shook his head.

“I wear a full face guard, the mask that they use when they spray pesticides,” he said. “He reached for my mask and tried to pull it off.” Mr. Rogers said his “natural instinct” came out and he put his hand up and knocked the man to the floor.

Gov. Gavin Newsom of California ordered the mandatory wearing of masks in public on June 18. A little more than a week later, Hugo’s Tacos, a taqueria with two locations in the Los Angeles area, announced that it would close temporarily because its staff was “exhausted by the constant conflicts over guests refusing to wear masks.”

Bill Kohne, the chief executive of Hugo’s, said that it was only in the last few weeks that the encounters had become so vitriolic.

“The one that we most viscerally remember is that a customer at the pickup window who was asked to wear a mask literally threw a cup of water through the window at the clerk,” Mr. Kohne said.

Time to give your home a good scrubbing.

There’s no way around it: When you rarely leave home, things get dirty faster. Here are some tips for a good deep-cleaning.

Reporting was contributed by Jonah Engel Bromwich, Emily Cochrane, Michael Cooper, Sopan Deb, Luis Ferré-Sadurní, Sheri Fink, Elaine Glusac, Joseph Goldstein, Denise Grady, Jenny Gross, Iliana Magra, Patricia Mazzei, Jesse McKinley, Raphael Minder, David Montgomery, Claire Moses, Sharon Otterman, Matt Phillips, Adam Rasgon, Amanda Rosa, Brian M. Rosenthal, Mitch Smith, Matina Stevis-Gridneff, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Derrick Bryson Taylor, Tracey Tully, Noah Weiland and Karen Zraick.

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