Credit…Seth Herald/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

More than 70,450 new coronavirus cases were reported in the United States on Friday, the highest figure since July 24, according to a New York Times database. More than 900 new deaths were recorded.

At least nine states set single-day case records on Friday: Wyoming, Minnesota, Wisconsin, West Virginia, North Dakota, Indiana, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado. And as of midday Saturday, Indiana and Ohio had set records.

The virus has also been surging globally: a record 415,000-plus cases on Friday, a record.

Epidemiologists warn that nearly half of the states in the U.S. are seeing surges unlike anything they experienced earlier in the pandemic. Eighteen states and Guam added more cases this week than in any other week. The nationwide seven-day average has increased by nearly 8,000 daily new cases since last Friday.

The virus has been pummeling some of the least populous states in the country, but their relatively low population numbers can make the total number of known cases deceptive. The surges in rural areas, when calculated by infections per person, have been just as severe as the spikes in densely populated cities in the Sun Belt over the summer.

Uncontrolled outbreaks in the Midwest and Mountain West are driving the surge, according to The Times database. Some states with the fastest growth had relatively few cases until recently, and now rural hospitals are strained.

Per capita, North Dakota and South Dakota are adding more new cases than any states have since the start of the pandemic. Wisconsin — which reported more than 4,160 new cases on Friday, a single-day record for the state — has seven of the 10 metropolitan areas in the United States with the highest rates of recent cases.

Other states with large rural areas — including Wyoming, Idaho, West Virginia, Nebraska, Iowa, Utah, Alaska and Oklahoma — have recently recorded more cases in a seven-day stretch than in any other week of the pandemic.

In the more populous states where case increases are being seen, including Wisconsin and Illinois, the worst numbers are coming not from the largest population centers but from rural counties.

Credit…Pool photo by Jean-Christophe Verhaegen

Both the Austrian and Belgian foreign ministers have tested positive for the coronavirus, their offices announced on Saturday, raising the possibility that they might have caught it at a meeting with European Union counterparts in Luxembourg on Monday.

Austria’s foreign minister, Alexander Schallenberg, his spokeswoman said, may have been infected at the meeting, a gathering of the Foreign Affairs Council, adding that the minister did not have symptoms and had been tested as a routine measure.

His Belgian counterpart, Sophie Wilmès, said on Saturday she had also tested positive after going into self-isolation on Friday with suspected symptoms.

But she did not put the finger on the Luxembourg meeting. “My Covid test result is positive,’’ she said on Twitter. “Contamination probably occurred within my family circle given the precautions taken outside my home.’’

Mr. Schallenberg also attended an Austrian cabinet meeting on Wednesday, but cabinet members wore face masks, his spokeswoman said. “As a precautionary measure all members of the government will be tested on Saturday,” she said.

The virus also created some havoc at a meeting of European Union leaders in Brussels on Thursday and Friday. The European Commission president and the Finnish prime minister had to leave early because they were alerted that people they had met with had tested positive, while the Polish prime minister did not even attend, self-isolating in Warsaw after becoming exposed to the virus.

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Movie Theaters Outside N.Y.C. Can Reopen Next Week, Cuomo Says

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York said some movie theaters outside of New York City would be allowed to reopen with limited capacity starting Oct. 23, and announced a new “microcluster approach” to combating the coronavirus.

“Beginning October 23, movie theaters outside of New York City will be allowed to reopen at 25 percent capacity with up to 50 people maximum per screen, with up to 50 people per screen.” “This is outside of New York City, areas that are below 2 percent on their 14-day average, and have no cluster zones.” “We actually have data that is so specific that we can’t show it because it would violate privacy conditions. But we know exactly where the cases are coming from. OK, so then change the strategy, change the framework, the template, from a state, to a region, to a county, down to the actual targeting by the block, of the increase in the spread.” “This microcluster approach we’re going to continue through the vaccine, because this is not over until the vaccine.”

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Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York said some movie theaters outside of New York City would be allowed to reopen with limited capacity starting Oct. 23, and announced a new “microcluster approach” to combating the coronavirus.CreditCredit…Angela Weiss/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York said Saturday that selected movie theaters outside New York City will reopen with limited capacity beginning on Oct. 23.

During a briefing in Albany, Mr. Cuomo said that movie theaters will welcome people in counties that have 2 percent infection rate or lower with no known virus clusters, including regions of Long Island and Westchester.

Movie theaters will be required to enforce several new regulations, including assigned seating, mask wearing and social distancing and capping attendance at 25 percent capacity, or up to 50 people per screen, Mr. Cuomo said.

He also specifically ruled out some areas. “Not New York City,” Mr. Cuomo stressed. “Not some counties on the southern tier.”

Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, said he remained optimistic by the state’s overall positivity rate, which on Saturday hovered at 1.1 percent. Nine people died on Saturday after being infected with the coronavirus, according to state data.

For weeks, movie theaters have been urging Mr. Cuomo to allow them to reopen as the city has crawled back to life with outdoor dining and the limited reopening of retail stores, gyms and other businesses. The managers of the Regal E-Walk theater in Times Square posted a sign that lobbied Mr. Cuomo to throw them a lifeline, saying, “48 states have reopened theaters so far. Why not New York, Gov. Cuomo? #ReopenOurCinemasNY.”

Mr. Cuomo also used his briefing on Saturday to foreshadow what he called a “micro clusters” strategy to keep the virus at bay during the fall and winter. His plan, he said, will call for increased testing to identify future hot spots: “That is how we are going to target going forward.”

Mr. Cuomo said state officials would determine which neighborhoods needed to pull back and which could remain open by analyzing how infection rates fluctuate “at a block by block level.”

“We know exactly where the cases are coming from,” he said.

In recent weeks, Mr. Cuomo has grown deeply unpopular in parts of Brooklyn and Queens where, because of spiking cases, he imposed new restrictions that included limiting gatherings in houses of worship to 10 people or 25 percent capacity, whichever is lower. Leaders of Catholic churches and synagogues in enclaves with large Orthodox Jewish populations in the city and Orange and Rockland Counties have said the guidelines affect their communities disproportionately.

When state officials got wind that 10,000 people were expected at a wedding scheduled for Monday in a Satmar community of Williamsburg, the authorities moved to prevent the large crowd from gathering, state officials said Saturday. A state official briefed on the matter said the New York Sheriff’s Department issued an order to keep the gathering at a capacity of 50 or lower, as directed by guidelines set by the state’s Commissioner of Health. They have yet to hear back from the wedding party, the official said.

Mr. Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio have blamed higher than average virus rates in so-called red zones on a disregard for social distancing and mask wearing.

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

President Trump is in Wisconsin for a rally in Rock County, one of dozens of counties in the state that have been overwhelmed by a record surge in cases over the past week.

Mr. Trump’s decision to go forward with the rally in Janesville, which was postponed after the president was hospitalized for Covid-19 treatment this month, flies in the face of repeated warnings from his own White House Coronavirus Task Force, which urged officials in Wisconsin last month and again this week to militate against large social gatherings.

The warnings came in a weekly report the task force sends to governors and which are not released publicly.

“To the maximal degree possible, increase social distancing mitigation measures until cases decline,” the task force urged Wisconsin officials in a Sept. 27 report obtained by The Times.

Another task force report sent this week, according to the Center for Public Integrity, cautioned that Wisconsin remained in the “red zone” with the fourth highest rate of positive cases per capita in the country, and that failing to limit large gatherings could lead to “preventable deaths.”

Officials in Wisconsin reported more than 4,160 new cases on Friday, setting a single-day record, according to data compiled by The New York Times. The state is also adding new deaths at a record pace, recording 135 in the last seven days alone.

State officials say they are updating their computer system and do not plan to publish new infection data again until Tuesday, interrupting the ability to track the scale of the outbreak.

Wisconsin’s struggles to contain the recent outbreak have been compounded by a number of lawsuits challenging orders by Gov. Tony Evers aimed at limiting gatherings and encouraging people to stay home. Mr. Evers is a Democrat often at odds with the Republican-controlled Legislature.

On Wednesday, a county judge blocked an order that had been limiting indoor dining at most restaurants and bars to 25 percent capacity.

“This is a dangerous decision that leaves our state without a statewide effort to contain this virus,” said Britt Cudaback, a spokesperson for Mr. Evers, in an email on Thursday.

The president’s Wisconsin rally, which will follow another in Michigan earlier on Saturday afternoon, is the latest in a string of large gatherings Mr. Trump has held this week, even as the country approaches a third peak in its curve.

On Friday, the president hosted large campaign events in Florida and Georgia. Many attendees did not wear masks.

With just over two weeks until Election Day, the president has resumed a full campaign schedule, often holding several in-person events each day. Mr. Trump is expected to hold two rallies in Nevada on Sunday.

Public health officials have reiterated concerns about the Trump campaign’s decision to forge ahead with large rallies, particularly in states like Wisconsin that appear to be entering the most severe days of the pandemic so far.

“We know that that is asking for trouble when you do that,” Dr. Anthony S. Fauci said in an interview on CNN on Monday.

Credit…Kent Gidley/USA Today Sports, via Reuters

Nick Saban has been cleared to coach his second-ranked Alabama football team on Saturday night after a series of negative tests this week, just three days after a concerning positive test result that sent shock waves through the college football community.

The string of negative test results, taken together with the fact that Saban, 68, never showed symptoms, led Alabama officials to conclude that he had most likely received a false positive result on Wednesday, and could safely return to coach the highly anticipated matchup against the No. 3 ranked Georgia. The initial result came from what is considered the most reliable type of test for the virus, a polymerase chain reaction test, known as a P.C.R.

The sudden turnaround for Saban marked the latest false alarm in which positive tests have thrown football games into doubt, only to be deemed incorrect by follow-up testing. Since last Friday, both the Jets and the Colts faced the possibility of upended N.F.L. schedules after players tested positive. Both teams announced days later that retesting had shown that their players were negative.

The game between Alabama and Georgia on Saturday features two of the strongest contenders in the Southeastern Conference, and it could do much to shape the trajectory of the race to reach the College Football Playoff. Had Saban not tested negative three times over the last few days, he would not have been able to coach during the game, either at the stadium or from home.

On Saturday evening, Dan Mullen, the head coach of the University of Florida’s football team, announced on Twitter that he had tested positive for the coronavirus and was experiencing mild symptoms.

Mullen recently argued that the university, which has restricted football attendance to about 20 percent of capacity, should “pack the Swamp” — a nickname for the team’s stadium — with fans.

“We have 90,000 in the Swamp to give us that home field advantage that Texas A&M had today,” he said last week after his team lost to Texas A&M.

Florida was set to host a game against Louisiana State on Saturday, but it was postponed after 21 University of Florida players tested positive for the virus.

[Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this item suggested incorrectly that Saban’s initial test was not a P.C.R.]

Credit…Remo Casilli/Reuters

A person living in the same residence as Pope Francis has tested positive for the coronavirus, the Vatican announced on Saturday, adding to concerns about the pope’s safety raised by an outbreak among the Swiss Guards, the colorfully uniformed force that protects him.

The person newly identified, who was asymptomatic, was moved out of the residence, the Domus Sanctae Marthae, or St. Martha’s House. He has been placed in a temporary isolation, as were the people who had come in direct contact with him, the Vatican said.

The virus has essentially penned Pope Francis, 83, in the Vatican, curtailing his travel and reducing his interactions with the faithful — and presumably interrupting his relatively informal, friendly relationship with the Swiss Guards, at least 11 of whom have been infected. Francis had made a custom of shaking hands with them as he leaves his suite in the morning.

Masks are required inside the Vatican, which has generally adopted Italy’s tough measures to restrict the spread of the virus, though the pope himself has appeared maskless in public settings. Surgery in his early 20s left Francis missing part of one lung, leaving him with what one biographer called a “pulmonary deficiency.”

Earlier this month, Francis criticized the failures of global cooperation in response to the pandemic in an encyclical document that otherwise underscored the priorities of his pontificate.

“As I was writing this letter, the Covid-19 pandemic unexpectedly erupted, exposing our false securities,” Francis wrote. “Aside from the different ways that various countries responded to the crisis, their inability to work together became quite evident. For all our hyper-connectivity, we witnessed a fragmentation that made it more difficult to resolve problems that affect us all,” he added.

“Anyone who thinks that the only lesson to be learned was the need to improve what we were already doing, or to refine existing systems and regulations, is denying reality,” the pope said.

Credit…Francesco Sapienza for The New York Times

The first sign of defiance by a frozen yogurt shop in the Colorado tourist town of Durango appeared in front of the self-serve stations. “Your mask is as worthless as Dean Brookie,” the chalkboard message read, referring to Durango’s mayor. Then some customers complained workers weren’t wearing the face coverings as they scooped berries and sweets into bowls.

This week, the store, Top That Frozen Yogurt, went even further, writing on Facebook that anyone who came in without a mask would receive a 10 percent discount, according to The Durango Herald. A screenshot of the offer was also posted by a user on Yelp.

“And as always 10% off for no masks!! Merica!!” the screenshot reads. The store’s Facebook page is no longer public.

The offer brought a wave of complaints from customers who said the store was violating the mask requirements in Colorado, which has seen a recent rise in coronavirus cases and deaths. Health officials in Durango, in southwestern Colorado near the border with New Mexico, are now considering what action they can take against the shop.

The store’s owner, Ryan Bartholomew, who could not be reached for comment, is no stranger to altercations over masks, which have become an intense political issue despite their widespread use by members of both parties and evidence that they help prevent the virus’s spread.

The Herald also reported in August that Mr. Bartholomew had been punched in the face by a 23-year-old woman while in a line of customers at a car parts store. The woman had asked the store manager why the customers weren’t wearing masks, prompting an argument with some customers, and said that she had hit Mr. Bartholomew after he told her to “choke yourself with your mask.”

Mayor Brookie — the man that the shop’s sign declared as “worthless” as a mask — said in an interview that the frozen yogurt shop was only open because other businesses and residents had taken proper precautions, helping the city to keep its case count relatively low. But the shop has stirred up the mask feud, he said, ahead of the approaching ski season, when tourists flock to the city.

“We have one business that has decided to go the defiance route,” Mr. Brookie said. “It comes at a very critical time in our community.”

Mr. Brookie said the frozen yogurt store has brought so much attention to the city that it rivaled the Gold King disaster in 2015, in which millions of gallons of sludge poured from an abandoned mine and turned a river that runs through the town a bright mustard color.

Credit…Michelle Mishina-Kunz for The New York Times

Hawaii, where new coronavirus cases have steadily declined since early September, began a major reopening project this week that will allow visitors to bypass the state’s mandatory 14-day quarantine process.

The project, lauded by Gov. David Ige as a potential boon to Hawaii’s struggling restaurant and tourism industries, allows travelers to bypass the quarantine if they produce a negative coronavirus test taken no more than 72 hours before their departure from the mainland.

Some county leaders have criticized the reopening, citing concern that increased travel could put their residents at risk. The changes come amid a resurgence of the virus in the United States, where the number of new cases is climbing toward a third peak.

On Thursday, Hawaii welcomed about 8,000 travelers on the first day of its reopening. Coupled with the resurgence of tourism, officials also started a $75 million program that will give some residents prepaid cards to spend at local restaurants.

“The restaurant and service industry has suffered so much during this pandemic,” Monica Toguchi, the owner of Highway Inn in Waipahu, said during a news conference on Wednesday. “Restaurants have not received any federal relief since the spring, and are struggling to pay their expenses.”

The two programs could bring much-needed revenue to restaurants, farmers, food distributors and other businesses that rely on Hawaii’s status as a premier vacation destination.

According to the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism, the state’s leisure and hospitality industries were gutted by the pandemic, with a decline in employment from 128,000 jobs in January to 61,000 in August.

The Hawaii Restaurant Association has estimated that more than 55 percent of restaurants may permanently close within the next six months under current conditions.

Alyssa Lee, the co-owner and operator of Da Farm, a quarter-acre farm in Waimanalo, said the resurgence of travelers could be a lifeline for the thousands of businesses that rely on tourism. But she added that she hoped officials would closely monitor coronavirus case counts and make adjustments if numbers begin to rise.

“I feel like we need to do something to help the economy,” Ms. Lee said. “I think adding more people to the mix won’t necessarily be the best thing, but I almost feel like we can’t just sit back and let the economy fall apart.”

Credit…Valeriano Di Domenico/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

A cluster of coronavirus cases in a rural area of Switzerland may be linked to two yodeling concerts that attracted hundreds of unmasked spectators at the end of September.

About 600 people had attended the concerts on Sept. 24 and 25 in the German-speaking canton of Schwyz, which had seen relatively few cases of the virus — but now has the highest infection rate in the country.

Nine days after the concerts, organizers were informed that one of the yodelers had tested positive for the virus. By then, it appeared that the virus had already begun to spread in the area. On Friday, three weeks after the concerts, the local government reported 633 active cases, not including people who had recovered. Over the last two weeks, Schwyz has recorded 474 cases per 100,000 people.

Petra Steimen-Rickenbacher, a government councilor in Schwyz, blamed the concerts for the spike, though she also noted “private parties” as a contributing problem.

Local officials announced that starting Friday, masks would be compulsory at events attended by more than 50 people. But masks only have to be worn in stores if a distance of 1.5 meters — about five feet — cannot be kept.

Switzerland has seen a rapid rise in virus cases in recent days, and on Friday recorded a new daily high of 3,105 cases. The country has recorded at least 71,317 cases since the start of the pandemic — about a sixth of them in the last week — and more than 1,800 deaths, according to a Times database.

Franziska Föllmi, director of the Schwyz Hospital, told the Swiss broadcaster SRF that 50 percent of recent virus tests were positive, and that the hospital was running out of beds. In a video posted to YouTube, hospital staff members urged residents to wear masks and refrain from gathering in large groups.

Throughout the pandemic, the nation has maintained looser restrictions than most European countries, and was one of the first to reopen nightclubs and allow large events. But that could change soon. President Simonetta Sommaruga announced on Thursday that the government was considering new virus measures, and called on the Swiss to do their part to slow the spread.

“It is just before the eleventh hour,” she said.

Credit…Michael Probst/Associated Press

Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Germans to heed social distancing and mask rules and to limit social contacts in a strongly-worded message on Saturday that comes amid a record number of new infections in Germany.

“The pandemic is once again spreading rapidly, even faster than at the beginning more than half a year ago,” she said in a weekly video podcast released on Saturday. “We are now in a very serious phase of the pandemic.”

After a relatively mild first wave and a summer during which infections were generally kept low, German health authorities registered 7,830 new cases on Friday, the third successive record-breaking day for the number of infections in a 24-hour period since the beginning of the pandemic.

“We are facing difficult months,” Ms. Merkel said, asking every individual to curtail nonessential travel and gatherings and to stay at home as much as possible. “How winter will be, how our Christmas will be, will be decided in these coming days and weeks. It will be decided by our actions.”

On Wednesday, Ms. Merkel and the country’s 16 state governors agreed to a raft of measures limiting nightlife, mandating mask use, even in outdoor public areas, and reducing the size of private gatherings allowed. Ms. Merkel has repeatedly stated that everything would be done to prevent a second general lockdown. But after Wednesday’s meeting, she said that if the measures did not produce reductions in new cases within 10 days, new measures would be required.

During the first wave, Ms. Merkel had already used her significant popular standing to call on Germans to follow rules in what was then an unusual TV appearance.

“What has brought us through the first six months of the pandemic so comparatively well?,” Ms. Merkel asked in the recording. “That we stood together and followed the rules.”

Credit…Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

Congressional Democrats and the White House remain at an impasse over a fresh package of coronavirus economic relief, as time runs out to get a bill passed before the election, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Sunday.

Ms. Pelosi said on the ABC program “This Week” that she was still in negotiations with the Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, but that “we don’t have agreement on the language yet.” She said a deal would have to be struck within 48 hours in order for a package to be enacted by Election Day.

One point of contention, she said, is the White House’s attempt to weaken provisions that would require testing and contact tracing for coronavirus infections. Another issue in the talks, a spokesman for Ms. Pelosi said on Saturday, is ensuring that the bill addresses the virus’s “disproportionate impact on communities of color.”

House Democrats, led by Ms. Pelosi, have proposed a $2.4 trillion package that provides aid to families, schools, restaurants, businesses and airline workers. It includes about $500 billion for state and local governments. Mr. Mnuchin, negotiating on behalf of President Trump, has sought a smaller bill, with less state and local aid.

The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, who has not been negotiating with Ms. Pelosi, is expected to put forward a $500 billion package this week. He has said he did not believe he could sell a package of more than $1 trillion to conservative Senate Republicans.

Mr. McConnell also said on Saturday that he planned to hold votes on a stand-alone bill to revive the Paycheck Protection Program, a federal loan program for small businesses created in the spring. Some of the $500 billion in his relief proposal would be used to finance the loan program.

Mr. McConnell has faced pressure from moderate members of his conference to act on relief legislation. President Trump’s decision to abruptly end talks, and then to reverse course, prompted concerns among Republicans that he had in effect guaranteed that Republicans would be blamed for a failure to provide further federal aid.

Without congressional action and a new round of federal relief, the country’s economic recovery has continued to shudder, and millions of Americans have slipped back into poverty.

Credit…Sinclair Broadcast Group

In the latest episode of Eric Bolling’s show from the Sinclair Broadcast Group, “America This Week,” the conservative broadcaster perpetuated misinformation about the origin of the coronavirus pandemic and measures that help slow its spread.

In the episode, which was posted to several Sinclair station websites this week, Mr. Bolling made claims, which scientists have widely disputed, that the coronavirus was manipulated in a Chinese laboratory. He also questioned the effectiveness of face coverings and lockdowns, despite evidence that they are instrumental in limiting transmissions.

Mr. Bolling, a former Fox News host, also said that “closing down cities and economies and wearing your tube socks around your face hasn’t slowed the virus down.”

In an interview on Friday, after the liberal media watchdog group Media Matters for America raised concerns about the episode, Mr. Bolling said the segment was being edited to remove some of his statements before airing this weekend on dozens of Sinclair stations. Sinclair, which is known for its conservative stances, owns or operates nearly 200 television stations across the country and reaches 39 percent of American households.

Credit…David Rowland/AAP Image, via Reuters

Her face has graced magazine covers all over the world. Her leadership style has been studied by Harvard scholars. Her science-and-solidarity approach to the coronavirus has drawn legions of fans in other countries who write to say, “I wish you were here.”

The global left (along with a chunk of the center) has fallen hard for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand, giving her a prodigious presence for a leader who manages a smaller population than many mayors do. Now her country’s voters have come around as well.

On Saturday, Ms. Ardern, 40, was well on her way to a second term. With most of the votes counted, her Labour Party was projected to win a clear majority in Parliament, with around 64 of 120 seats and 49 percent of the vote — its strongest showing by far since New Zealand overhauled its electoral system in the mid-1990s.

Three years ago, Ms. Ardern was a last-minute choice to lead the Labour Party, and in her first term she often struggled to fulfill her progressive promises like making housing more affordable, eliminating child poverty and attacking climate change.

But after managing the responses to the Christchurch terrorist attacks, the White Island volcano eruption and a pandemic — not to mention the birth of her first child — she has become a global standard-bearer for a progressive politics that defines itself as compassionate and competent in crisis.

Riding a wave of support for her “go hard, go early” response to the coronavirus, which has effectively been stamped out in the country, Ms. Ardern has now cemented her position as New Zealand’s most popular prime minister in generations, if not ever.

“We will govern as we campaigned — positively,” Ms. Ardern said in her acceptance speech in Auckland on Saturday night, adding: “We will build back better from the Covid crisis. This is our opportunity.”

On Sunday, New Zealand reported its first community transmission in more than three weeks, a port worker. Ashley Bloomfield, the director general of health, said there was no need for new restrictions.

Credit…Hannah Mckay/Reuters

Britain’s space agency has backed an innovative medical drone delivery service that aims to carry coronavirus test samples, testing kits and personal equipment to hospitals and other sites of the country’s National Health Service, authorities said on Saturday.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowed this year to set up a “world beating” system for virus testing and contact tracing in the country, which has been hit hardest by the pandemic in Europe. His program, however, has been dogged by technical glitches, poorly trained contact tracers and overburdened laboratories, leaving many scrambling for tests.

The delivery service, known as Apian, aims to make logistical tasks more automated while minimizing physical contact, according to its creators, Hammad Jeilani and Christopher Law, two trainee doctors at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry.

The U.K. Space Agency has awarded their company £1.3 million, or $1.7 million, to develop the project.

“We are confident that by setting up a medical drone delivery service, we’ll be able to fly samples to labs more regularly, reliably and quickly, improving patient health outcomes,” Mr. Law said.

Apian’s drones have the rotors of a typical drone and the wings of a plane. They can carry a maximum weight of 2 kilograms (about 4.4 pounds) and fly about 60 miles. The company’s founders say they plan to coordinate with the space agency and emergency services to develop secure air corridors for the drones to fly between hospitals.

The first drones are planned to fly between two hospitals and a laboratory in eastern England, according to British news reports, all located less than 20 miles from each other.

Credit…Ye Aung Thu/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

For the first time since May, Thailand on Saturday confirmed multiple locally transmitted cases of the coronavirus in a border town with Myanmar, which has suffered a rapid rise in infections over the past few weeks.

Thailand has so far prevented runaway transmission of Covid-19, partly by all but barring foreign visitors. But the new infections have fueled longstanding concerns that insecure borders could lead to fresh outbreaks.

Thailand has confirmed about 3,700 coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, but Myanmar has reported around 10 times as many — and experts believe its true caseload is even higher because the rate of testing is among the lowest in the world.

Nearly a third of Myanmar’s cases were reported in the past week, according to a New York Times database, and parts of the country are under stay-at-home orders. Doctors say that Myanmar’s underfunded medical system will be quickly overwhelmed if the virus is not contained.

Myanmar is one of the primary sources of migrant workers in Thailand, and the new cases have been linked to cross-border trade along the usually porous border that separates the two countries. But the Thai authorities have tightened border controls in an effort to prevent illegal immigration.

A husband and wife who are citizens of Myanmar and live in Thailand tested positive after having contact with a driver from Myanmar who entered the country with the virus, Thai officials said on Saturday.

Three others who live in the same house as the couple have also tested positive, officials said Sunday.

Three truck drivers from Myanmar, who were engaged in a border trade that has been limited by a coronavirus lockdown, tested positive for the virus this month after visiting a hospital in the Thai town of Mae Sot.

In September, a D.J. in Bangkok who was arrested on drug charges tested positive, but contact tracing turned up no further cases related to him.

Credit…Al Bello/Getty Images

As the weeks of coronavirus quarantine stretched into months, hugs are among the many things isolated people found themselves aching for. Hugs are good for humans — perhaps more valuable than many of us realized, until we found ourselves missing them.

Research has shown that hugs can lower our cortisol levels during stressful situations, and can raise oxytocin levels and maybe even lower our blood pressure. A 2015 paper published in Psychological Science even found that study subjects who got more hugs were less likely to get sick when exposed to a cold virus than those who weren’t hugged as often.

So when hugging is deemed safe again, will we remember how navigate when you should and shouldn’t hug someone — and how not to hold on too long?

The first rule of Hug Club: You don’t have to hug anyone you don’t want to, and it’s best to ask before going in for a squeeze — especially if it’s someone you don’t know well.

Once you’ve established that your hugging partner wants a hug, you’ll probably pick up on cues as to how long it should last, like pats on the back.

And don’t worry too much about hugging too tightly. The HuggieBot 1.0, a hugging robot, had three pressure settings: light, medium and extra squeeze. Alexis Block, the inventor of the squeeze machine, said that in her research, study participants most often rated the tightest hugs as their favorites.

Credit…Erik S Lesser/EPA, via Shutterstock

Latino and Black Americans died in disproportionately high numbers relative to the general population from May to August this year, according to a report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday. Latino deaths rose by more than 10 percent over that period, the largest increase of any group.

The trendline is not new. Early numbers had shown that Black and Latino people were being harmed by the virus at higher rates.

The report notes that of the 114,411 coronavirus-related deaths reported to the C.D.C.’s National Vital Statistics System during that time frame, slightly more than half were white; about a quarter were Latino and nearly 19 percent were Black, figures that are far higher than their portion of the general population (about 18 percent for Latinos and 13 percent for Blacks).

Regardless of race and ethnicity, those aged 65 and older represented the vast majority — 78 percent — of all coronavirus deaths over those four months.

The geographic impact of coronavirus deaths shifted from May to August as well, moving from the Northeast to the South and West. And though the virus moved into parts of the country with higher numbers of Hispanic residents, the report’s data showed that alone does not entirely account for the increase in percentage of deaths among Hispanics nationwide.

“Covid-19 remains a major public health threat regardless of age or race and ethnicity,” the report states. It attributes an increased risk among racial and ethnic groups who might be more likely to live in places where the coronavirus is more easily spread, such as multigenerational and multifamily households, as well as hold jobs requiring in-person work, have more limited access to health care and who experience discrimination.

In July, federal data made available after The New York Times sued the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed a clearer and more complete picture of the racial inequalities of the virus: Black and Latino people have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus in a widespread manner that spans the country, throughout hundreds of counties in urban, suburban and rural areas, and across all age groups.





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