Staying at home “is not a permanent state,” California’s governor says.

The beach in Santa Monica, Calif., continued to attract visitors on Thursday. Credit...Apu Gomes/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday night ordered California’s almost 40 million residents to stay home except for essential trips, extending similar restrictions statewide that Bay Area counties had previously enacted.

The order, which is in place until further notice, exempts travel to essential services like grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations. In large swaths of the state, nonessential businesses like movie theaters, gyms and bars had recently been ordered to close. Restaurants have been limited to takeout or delivery only.

“This is not a permanent state, this is a moment in time,” Mr. Newsom said in a news conference. “We will look back at these decisions as pivotal.”

The announcement came shortly after Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles and other leaders from Los Angeles County, the nation’s most populous county, ordered that its residents stay in their homes as much as possible. “Tonight our responsibility is to save as many lives and flatten that curve,” Mr. Garcetti said. “This is an act of love.”

Mr. Newsom earlier said the state was projecting that 56 percent of California’s population would be infected with the virus over an eight-week period — a stunning disclosure that rippled through headlines. But on Thursday night, he said he hoped that the extraordinary measures would stop those projections from coming to pass.

“The point of the stay-at-home order is to make those numbers moot,” he said.

As of Thursday night, 1,040 cases of the coronavirus had been identified in California and 19 people had died, according to an analysis by The New York Times. But as recognition grows that many infections are undetected, leaders are focusing on ways to expand the capacity of stretched health care systems and help residents who were already teetering on a financial edge.

In a letter he sent to President Trump on Thursday, Mr. Newsom asked that the U.S. Navy hospital ship Mercy be sent to Los Angeles through Sept. 1 to help treat patients recovering from heart attacks, strokes and car crashes, as well as the likely surge of coronavirus patients.

Trump administration’s plea to states: Keep mum about unemployment stats.

The Trump administration is asking state labor officials to delay releasing the precise number of unemployment claims they are fielding, an indication of how uneasy policymakers are about further roiling a stock market already plunging in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

In an email sent Wednesday, the Labor Department instructed state officials to only “provide information using generalities to describe claims levels (very high, large increase)” until the department releases the total number of national claims next Thursday.

The email, which was shared with The New York Times, noted that the reports were monitored closely by financial markets and should therefore remain embargoed. “States should not provide numeric values to the public,” wrote Gay Gilbert, the administrator of the department’s Office of Employment Insurance.

Ms. Gilbert has worked at the Labor Department under presidents of both parties, and there has been no indication that she was urged by political appointees to make the request. But President Trump has privately expressed irritation at the dire predictions of some of his advisers, most notably when Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told lawmakers that unemployment could reach 20 percent this year.

Some states that received the guidance from Ms. Gilbert found it disturbing. It prompted at least one governor’s office, which shared the message on the condition of anonymity, to seek an opinion from the state attorney general about whether the state had to temporarily withhold the information.

In another state, lawmakers got a preview of the staggering numbers that are being withheld for the moment. In a private conference call Thursday with elected officials and union leaders, a top Pennsylvania labor official was blunt about the depth of the economic crisis, according to someone on the call.

Robert O’Brien, the state’s deputy secretary of labor and industry, said the government had been overwhelmed by a flood of unemployment insurance claims — 180,000 in the last few days. He said that was far more than the state usually gets in a whole month.

The situation may be even more dire in Washington State, the first center of the contagion in the United States. State officials there would only say they are seeing an “even more dramatic increase this week” after unemployment claims soared 150 percent last week.

The federal numbers released Thursday morning were already alarming: 281,000 people nationwide applied for unemployment insurance last week, up from 211,000 the previous week. They were apparently only a grim preview of what is to come.

Senate Republican plan includes corporate tax cuts and checks for taxpayers.

Senate Republicans unveiled an economic rescue plan on Thursday that would provide hundreds of billions of dollars in loans to big corporations and small businesses; large corporate tax cuts; and checks of $1,200 for many taxpayers, as well as impose limits on a paid leave program enacted this week to respond to the coronavirus crisis.

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, introduced the proposal after private talks with Republicans and the White House. It is likely to face opposition from Democrats, who have their own plans and have pushed for more generous paid leave benefits.

The 247-page bill would provide the $1,200 payments to those earning up to $75,000 a year; those earning $75,000 to $99,000 would get smaller amounts, and those earning more than $99,000 would get none.

On the Senate floor, Mr. McConnell asked Democratic senators to join in-person negotiations on Friday, saying that the talks would include Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary; Larry Kudlow, the top White House economic adviser; and other administration officials.

Italy’s death toll soars, surpassing China’s, as European cases rise.

Italy passed a grim milestone on Thursday: Deaths linked to the virus there had soared to 3,405, exceeding the toll in China, where the virus first broke out.

With the crisis mounting, Italy is increasingly turning to its military for help.

Cemeteries in the northern city of Bergamo are so overwhelmed that troops were called in to transport bodies elsewhere to be cremated. The army sent 120 doctors and health professionals to help in Bergamo and nearby Lodi, while field hospitals and emergency respiratory units are being set up elsewhere in the north.

The spread of the virus in Italy has been swift and terrifying, even after the country imposed strict limits on people’s movements. As the death toll rose, traditional funeral services were outlawed as part of the national restrictions against gatherings.

The country tallied 902 deaths in the last two days alone: 475 Wednesday and 427 on Thursday. Most who died had serious pre-existing conditions, officials said. Italy now has 41,035 coronavirus cases.

Italians have risen to meet the relentless bad news with fortitude and with creative attempts to keep their spirits up. Some housebound Italians, trying to follow social distancing rules in a famously social country, began serenading one another from their balconies in the evenings.

Other countries in Europe also reported upticks. France crossed the threshold of 10,000 coronavirus cases on Thursday. The French government came under intense pressure from doctors, police and the public over a shortage of face masks and gloves. And after groups of people were seen strolling in the parks of Paris and along France’s coastlines on Wednesday in defiance of the rules, the police moved to close riverside walkways and block beach access in most places.

“There are people who think they are modern-day heroes by breaking the rules, while they are in fact idiots,” the country’s interior minister, Christophe Castaner, told a French radio station.

Germany’s official count of coronavirus infections jumped 34 percent from Wednesday to Thursday, reaching 10,999. Germany’s fatality rate remains strikingly low, with 20 dead to date.

Spain has reported more than 17,000 cases and 800 deaths. Most of the deaths were in Madrid, where a hotel has been converted into the country’s first makeshift coronavirus hospital. The country is scrambling to bolster its public health system amid reports of shortfalls, with some doctors and nurses forced to work without face masks and other basic equipment. The government launched an emergency recruitment plan on Thursday to add tens of thousands of workers to the health sector, ranging from medical students to retired doctors.

And in perhaps the most high-profile cultural event to be affected, the Cannes Film Festival has been postponed. It was meant to run from May 12 to May 23 on the French Riviera, but organizers said in a statement on Thursday that could not happen.

European leaders in the Group of 7 won’t be traveling to the United States in June for their annual summit. The White House has canceled this year’s in-person meeting, which President Trump had been scheduled to host at Camp David, a White House spokesman said on Thursday. The meeting will be held by teleconference instead.

The State Department is advising Americans to refrain from travel abroad.

The State Department recommended on Thursday that American citizens abroad either return home or stay in place as the new coronavirus pandemic grows. The department raised its global travel advisory to level four, the top-tier warning, usually reserved for nations with war zones or beset by serious disruptions.

“If you choose to travel internationally, your travel plans may be severely disrupted, and you may be forced to remain outside of the United States for an indefinite time frame,” the advisory said.

Some tourists or American citizens without long-term living arrangements or support networks abroad have been trying to get back to the United States, but have found that difficult because of border closings or the cutting of flight routes and other transportation shutdowns.

President Trump, asked during a briefing on Thursday about Americans stranded abroad and trying to re-enter the United States, said that the administration is working with the military to get them home. Americans stuck in Morocco since Sunday were told that they would be able to fly home.

Also on Thursday, U.S. military officials announced they would halt deployments into Iraq for at least the next 14 days. The move follows similar initiatives in Afghanistan as the Pentagon wrestles with the spread of the coronavirus.

Doctors and nurses plead for masks and other equipment.

The Open Cities Community Health Center in St. Paul, Minn., is considering shutting its doors because of a dwindling supply of face masks. Doctors at Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis have been forced to perform invasive procedures with loose fitting surgical masks rather than the tight respirator masks recommended by health agencies. At one Los Angeles emergency room, doctors examining a suspected coronavirus patient were given a box of expired masks.

When they tried to secure them to their faces, the elastic bands snapped.

With cases soaring, doctors, nurses and other front-line medical workers across the United States are confronting a dire shortage of masks, surgical gowns and eye gear to protect them from the virus.

“There’s absolutely no way to protect myself,” said Dr. Faezah A. Bux, an anesthesiologist in central Kentucky who in recent days had to intubate several elderly patients in respiratory distress without the N95 masks and protective eye gear recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Not only can I not protect myself, I can’t protect my patients.”

At a White House briefing on Thursday, Mr. Trump said millions of masks were in production and that the federal government had made efforts to address the shortages. But he said it was largely up to governors to deal with the problem.

“The federal governments aren’t supposed to be out there buying vast amounts of items and then shipping,” Mr. Trump said. “You know, we’re not a shipping clerk.”

He said there were no immediate plans to activate the Defense Production Act, which authorizes presidents to take extraordinary action to force American industry to ramp up production of equipment needed for national security.

“We hope we are not going to need it,” he said.

The president’s optimistic statements contrasted starkly with the situation on the ground. Rebecca Bartles, who heads infection prevention efforts for the Providence St. Joseph hospital chain based in Washington, said it was only a matter of days before some of the system’s 51 hospitals and 800 clinics run out of personal protective equipment, often referred to as P.P.E.

“We’re on Mile 1 of a marathon,” she said. “If we’re out of P.P.E. now, what does Mile 25 look like?”

A surveillance tool could soon become a smartphone virus tracker.

Health officials and scientists in Britain hope to begin testing soon for a smartphone app that would alert the user about coming in contact with someone infected with the coronavirus.

The project is an urgent effort by the British authorities to translate a surveillance tool used to fight the outbreak in China into something more palatable in Western democracies. The app is being developed for use in Britain, but could be adapted for other countries, particularly those with centralized health systems like Britain’s, officials said.

Unlike the smartphone-tracking system used by the Chinese government, the British project would rely entirely on voluntary participation, and would bank on people sharing information out of a sense of civic duty. Users who sign up for the program would agree to share their location data for the duration of the pandemic, or as long as they kept the app.

Such cooperation might have been unthinkable only a few weeks ago, but it is expected to gain traction as the death toll mounts and the economy stalls.

The app would be officially associated with the country’s National Health System, said researchers at the University of Oxford who are working on it with the government. The researchers said the government could make assurances about deleting the data and would not make the movements of infected individuals fully public, as has been done in South Korea.

Trump said, with minimal evidence, that existing malaria drugs could potentially be used as treatment.


‘We Have To Remove Every Barrier,’ Trump Says of F.D.A. Tests

The White House coronavirus task force shared the latest updates on the virus and its impact on the country.

I’ve directed the F.D.A. to eliminate outdated rules and bureaucracy, so this work can proceed rapidly, quickly, and, I mean, fast. And we have to remove every barrier. There are a lot of barriers that were unnecessary and they’ve done that to get the rapid deployment of safe, effective treatments, and we think we have some good answers. A drug called chloroquine — and some people would add to it hydroxy, hydroxy chloroquine, so chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine. Now this is a common malaria drug. The F.D.A. is committed to continuing to provide regulatory flexibility and guidance, but let me make one thing clear: The F.D.A.‘s responsibility to the American people is to ensure that products are safe and effective and that we are continuing to do that, our folks and their tremendous professionals are working day and night to do this.

1:25‘We Have To Remove Every Barrier,’ Trump Says of F.D.A. Tests
The White House coronavirus task force shared the latest updates on the virus and its impact on the country.CreditCredit...Doug Mills/The New York Times

President Trump exaggerated the potential of drugs available to treat the new coronavirus on Thursday, including an experimental antiviral treatment and decades-old malaria remedies that hint of promise but so far show limited evidence of healing the sick.

No drug has been approved to treat the new coronavirus, and doctors around the world have been desperately administering an array of medicines in search of something to help patients, especially those who are severely ill.

The malaria drugs, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, are among the remedies that have been tried in several countries as the virus has spread. Doctors in China, South Korea and France have reported that the treatments seem to help. But those efforts have not involved the kind of large, carefully controlled studies that would provide the global medical community the proof that these drugs work on a significant scale.

In a White House briefing Thursday, Mr. Trump said that his administration had “slashed red tape” to expand trials for possible treatments and that the anti-malaria drugs had shown “tremendous promise.”

“I think it’s going to be very exciting,” he said. “I think it could be a game changer, and maybe not.”

Dr. Stephen Hahn, the Food and Drug Administration commissioner, gently tamped down some of Mr. Trump’s optimism, saying that while it was important for doctors to give hope, it was also important “not to provide false hope.”

What does ‘social distancing’ actually mean?

A 34-year-old man becomes one of the youngest victims in the U.S.

A 34-year-old man from California died on Thursday after testing positive for the new coronavirus, becoming one of the youngest people in the United States to die from Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus.

In a Facebook post, his sister Lauren Ghazarian, 31, wrote: “Our sweet, loving, fun Jeffrey went to be with Jesus this morning. He suffered a lot and put up a good fight.” Jeffrey Ghazarian had survived prostate cancer several years ago. People who have undergone cancer treatments are especially vulnerable to respiratory infections.

While the risk of dying is significantly higher in older people, new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that nearly 40 percent of patients sick enough to be hospitalized in the United States were 20 to 54 years old.

On Friday, Mr. Ghazarian tested positive for the coronavirus, according to his sister’s Facebook post, and developed pneumonia and blocked lungs. His death was earlier reported by TMZ.

“He was just at Disney World, and to come home and a week later — you’re dead?” Elizabeth Gregg, one of his friends from college, told The New York Times on Thursday. “That’s not supposed to happen to anyone, let alone a healthy, successful 34-year-old man.”

Mr. Ghazarian’s death may be a wake-up call to younger people who aren’t taking enough precautions to prevent the virus from spreading, she said.

“I’m at the epicenter of this, and still large groups of teenagers are hanging out of the supermarket,” said Mrs. Gregg, who lives in Issaquah, Wash. “Maybe it’s going to take more people like Jeffrey to die for people to understand this can affect absolutely anybody.”

The number of known coronavirus cases in the United States surged past 10,000 on Thursday, rippling into Capitol buildings and prompting sweeping action, even from state leaders who had been reluctant to order radical changes to daily life.

In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order on Thursday stopping dine-in service at restaurants and bars, officially shutting down all schools and gyms, and barring gatherings of more than 10 people statewide. The order, effective at midnight, imposes stringent new regulations similar to those in place in other states. The state also declared a public health disaster for the first time since 1901, Mr. Abbott said.

Florida’s southernmost county, which includes the Florida Keys, ordered all of its hotels on Thursday to close down — at the height of tourist season. There are more than 13,000 hotel rooms in Monroe County, and at this time of year, they are normally booked solid.

In Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Wolf said on Thursday that he was ordering all non-life-sustaining businesses to close by 8 p.m. “Enforcement actions against businesses that don’t close will begin Saturday and could include citations, fines & license suspensions,” he said on Twitter.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York waived mortgage payments for 90 days for people facing hardship, while also warning against fear and panic.

“I spend half my day knocking down rumors that we are going to lock people in their homes,” Mr. Cuomo said, noting that New York City seemed to be at “near-panic levels.”

“I am not going to imprison anyone in the State of New York in their homes,” he said.

Brazil shuts down land borders as travel is halted across Latin America.

Brazil closed its land borders on Thursday, in an effort to spare the region from widespread contagion.

The step was a reversal for President Jair Bolsonaro, who had dismissed recent calls for severe measures to curb the virus as “hysteria.” That view drew withering criticism, even from former allies, and prompted protests by people who banged pans from their windows and chanted anti-Bolsonaro slogans.

As of Thursday afternoon, Brazil had 529 confirmed coronavirus cases and four deaths. The country has yet to adopt more restrictive measures like those of Peru, Chile and Argentina, which have sought to halt all nonessential movement.

Netanyahu says Israeli police will enforce a strict order for residents to stay home.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday ordered most Israelis to stay in their homes except when buying groceries or medicine, and said the police would enforce the decree.

He said Israel had not yet had a death linked to the coronavirus, but expected to at some point.

“We’re talking about saving very many lives — saving family members, friends, neighbors from death,” Mr. Netanyahu said grimly on national television. “If anyone thinks I’m exaggerating, look at the images coming from Spain, from Italy.”

The order will apply initially for seven days. Essential workers will still be permitted to travel to their jobs.

Mr. Netanyahu said his caretaker government was making a “mighty effort” to address shortages of vital supplies like disinfectants and swabs for test kits, and urged ordinary Israelis to heed government warnings.

“Don’t say, ‘It won’t happen to me, it won’t happen to my family,’ because if you don’t behave correctly, it will happen to you,’” he said.

Reporting and research were contributed by Jonathan Martin, Jill Cowan, Sarah Mervosh, Jenny Gross, Elisabetta Povoledo, Michael Cooper, Katie Rogers, Jenny Gross, Tiffany Hsu, Tara Siegel Bernard, Edward Wong, Raphael Minder, Neil MacFarquhar, Ernesto Londoño, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Karen Zraick, Katie Thomas, Niki Kitsantonis, David E. Sanger, Eric Lipton, Eileen Sullivan, Michael Crowley, Aurelien Breeden,Javier C. Hernández, Alisa Dogramadzieva, Marc Santora, Megan Specia, Melissa Eddy, Nick Corasaniti, Lara Jakes, Ana Swanson, Nicholas Fandos, Emily Cochrane, Rick Gladstone, Megan Twohey, Steve Eder, Mariel Padilla, David M. Halbfinger, Isabel Kershner and Marc Stein.