Coronavirus Live Updates: Americans Are on the Move, Even as New Warnings Sound

Americans are increasingly on the move, even as top public health officials warn of dangers.

Easing restrictions on public life too soon could result in a surge in new cases that could quickly spiral out of control, public health officials said on Tuesday, but a New York Times analysis of cellphone data found that tens of millions of Americans were already leaving their homes in growing numbers.

“There is a real risk that you will trigger an outbreak that you may not be able to control,” Dr. Fauci warned.

That could result not only in “some suffering and death that could be avoided,” he said, “but could even set you back on the road to trying to get economic recovery.”

The success of social-distancing measures has always been largely dependent on individual behavior. But the public is also wrestling with a barrage of conflicting messages.

The Associated Press reported on Wednesday that the suggested guidance was more detailed than previously known. The A.P. obtained a 63-page document that advocated a coordinated national response, with step-by-step measures outlined for community leaders.

But after weeks largely confined to their homes, people in nearly every part of the country were showing signs of restlessness.

From March 20, when states began telling people to stay home, to April 30, when many states eased those restrictions, 43.8 percent of U.S. residents — about 144 million people — stayed home.

Last week, the share of people staying home was 36.1 percent, on average, or about 119 million people. That’s a drop of 7.7 percentage points from the average during the peak period for sheltering in place.

The date of the general election is set by federal law and has been fixed since 1845. It would take a change in federal law to move that date. That would mean legislation enacted by Congress, signed by the president and subject to challenge in the courts.

But Mr. Kushner’s comment raised alarms both because of the expansive power that Mr. Trump has conferred on members of his family who serve in his administration and because it played into the worst anxieties of Mr. Trump’s detractors — that the president would begin to question the validity of the election if he feared he was going to lose.

Doubts about a smooth voting process in November have increased as states have canceled or postponed presidential primary elections to avoid the spread of the virus.

Mr. Kushner’s remarks also undercut the president’s own publicly stated position on the issue.

“The general election will happen on Nov. 3,” Mr. Trump said last month at a news conference when asked about Mr. Biden’s comment. But he also appeared to raise the specter of election fraud, noting that “I think a lot of people cheat with mail-in voting.” He added, “It should be, you go to a booth and you proudly display yourself.”

The senators and witnesses who participated in the hearing on Tuesday of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions did so from dens, offices and a mostly empty committee room. But while their homes — and even their dogs — created an unusual backdrop for the proceedings, the hearing produced the customary array of partisan talking points, dire warnings and even the occasional flash of anger.

  • TESTING: The committee chairman, Lamar Alexander, described a future vaccine or treatment as the “ultimate solution,” but he said “until we have them, all roads back to work and school go through testing.” Brett P. Giroir, the assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services, who is overseeing the government’s testing response, testified that the country would have the ability to conduct 40 million to 50 million tests per month by September. But his remarks drew skepticism from Democratic senators, including Senator Patty Murray of Washington, who said, “This administration has had a record of bringing us broken promises that more supplies and testing are coming, and they don’t.”

  • VACCINES: Scientists hope to know by late fall or early winter whether they have at least one possible effective vaccine, Dr. Fauci told the senators. But he cautioned, “Even at the top speed we’re going, we don’t see a vaccine playing in the ability of individuals to get back to school this term.” Dr. Fauci emphasized the importance of having “multiple winners,” meaning more than one vaccine available, to provide “global availability.” He repeated his cautious optimism that an effective vaccine would be developed but said there was no guarantee that would happen.

  • SCHOOL REOPENINGS: The closing of schools and universities has represented one of the biggest upheavals in the outbreak, and Dr. Fauci and others said that the answer might be that schools would reopen differently throughout the country, depending on the state of the local outbreak.

    Balancing the decision of whether to keep schools closed for safety reasons or to reopen them to allow parents to return to work — a major factor in any economic recovery — is a difficult question.

    “If we keep kids out of school for another year, what’s going to happen is the poor and underprivileged kids who don’t have a parent that’s able to teach them at home will not get to learn for a full year,” said Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky.

    Dr. Fauci pushed back, saying that the virus’s effect on children was still not well understood, and that recent cases of children who had tested positive and developed a serious inflammatory syndrome was worrisome. “We really better be very careful, particularly when it comes to children,” he said.

Jack Dorsey, the chief executive of Twitter, told employees on Tuesday that they would not be expected to return to the company’s offices and could work from home forever if they wanted.

Twitter sent its employees home in early March to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, but Mr. Dorsey had previously said that he wanted Twitter’s work force to be more diversified around the world and that he welcomed remote work.

Along with broader concerns about the long-term impact of the pandemic on how Americans work, the move has raised the prospect of profound shifts in working life that may outlive the virus.

But many companies are now wondering whether it’s worth continuing to spend as much money on Manhattan’s exorbitant commercial rents. They are also mindful that public health considerations might make the packed workplaces of the recent past less viable.

“Is it really necessary?” said Diane M. Ramirez, the chief executive of Halstead, the real estate company that has more than a thousand agents in the New York region. “I’m thinking long and hard about it. Looking forward, are people going to want to crowd into offices?”

When her company, and dozens of others, make that call after the pandemic, New York City real estate could face a reckoning.

Your rent and neighborhood questions, answered.

The coronavirus pandemic has created many quandaries, such as how to talk to your neighbors about social distancing, how to break a lease you can no longer afford and what you can do as a landlord who is having trouble collecting rent. We have some help and advice:

Deaths from all causes doubled i
n Lima, Peru, and tripled in Manaus, Brazil. In Guayaquil, Ecuador, deaths reached five times the usual number for the time of year.

Brazilian cities are burying rows of stacked coffins in mass graves. Hundreds of Ecuadoreans are searching for the bodies of family members who went to hospitals and never returned.

Reporting was contributed by Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Annie Karni, Maggie Haberman, Marc Santora, Alexandra Alter, Karen Barrow, Gabriel J.X. Dance, Lazaro Gamio, Matthew Haag, Shawn Hubler, Daisuke Wakabayashi.

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