As some areas lift restrictions, others reimpose limits amid new outbreaks.
Gradual reopenings are continuing across the United States and globally this weekend, including the lifting of a state of emergency that Spain imposed nearly three months ago. But a return to public life has also been accompanied by rises in coronavirus cases — and in some instances a reimposition of restrictions to curb the virus’s spread.
In Australia, which has received widespread praise for its success in containing the virus, the state of Victoria said on Saturday that it was bringing back tighter restrictions on gatherings after a resurgence of cases. The state, which includes Melbourne, on Wednesday recorded its largest single-day increase in infections in over a month. At least three of the cases involved protesters who participated in Black Lives Matter demonstrations this month.
The reimposition of restrictions followed preventive moves this week in Beijing as the Chinese capital tries to stem a new outbreak that has raised fears of a broader contagion, although the authorities did not turn to the kind of widespread strict lockdowns that the country introduced in January after the pandemic began spreading there late last year.
That change in approach is in part a recognition that it is not feasible to entirely shut down societies for the duration of the pandemic, which shows no signs of disappearing.
In the United States, some officials called for greater vigilance, mask-wearing and social distancing this week as several states repeatedly set record daily highs for new coronavirus cases.
Florida, among the hardest-hit states, reported 3,822 new cases on Friday, bringing its total to close to 90,000. Arizona recorded a new single-day high, and South Carolina reported a record of 1,081 new daily cases, the seventh time in 11 days that the state had broken its single-day case record.
There is also concern that a campaign rally that President Trump is holding in Tulsa., Okla., on Saturday may become a “super spreader” event, with thousands converging for what the city’s police chief described as “a mass amount of people that probably Tulsa has never seen before.”
As people lined up outside an arena in Tulsa, Okla., in anticipation of President Trump’s campaign rally on Saturday, health officials braced for the possibility that the event could further spread the coronavirus in a state that has seen a surge in new cases.
A lawsuit filed by local residents and businesses to stop Mr. Trump from holding the rally, his first since the pandemic began, because of the risks of spreading the virus was rejected on Friday by the Oklahoma Supreme Court. The lawsuit had demanded that the event be postponed unless the BOK Center, the 19,000-seat arena where the rally is being held, agreed to enforce certain social distancing guidelines.
The court said that because Oklahoma’s reopening plan, put in place on June 1, allowed businesses to use their discretion when instituting social distancing measures, such restrictions were not mandatory.
At the same time, city officials rescinded a three-night curfew after Mr. Trump said on Twitter that he had spoken with the mayor, “who informed me there will be no curfew tonight or tomorrow for our many supporters.”
Local health officials say that Mr. Trump’s rally has the potential to become a “super spreader” event. Tulsa’s police chief, Wendell Franklin, said this week that his department was planning for “a mass amount of people that probably Tulsa has never seen before.”
The White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, said that attendees would be given face masks, but that using them would be optional. Mr. Trump has eschewed masks in public, and Ms. McEnany said on Friday that she would not wear one at the rally.
The state has recorded more than 9,700 confirmed cases. With about 245 cases per 100,000 people, the state’s per capita total ranks in the bottom 20 percent of the country. But the Oklahoma State Department of Health reported 352 additional cases on Friday, its second-highest daily number of new cases.
Brazil on Friday became the second country to pass a million coronavirus cases, recording a staggering 54,771 cases in the past 24 hours — an increase that the country’s health ministry attributed at least in part to a lag in reporting from three states. The United States has reported more than 2.2 million cases.
More than 48,954 people in Brazil have died of Covid-19, second only to the total in the United States, according to a New York Times database. If the trend lines hold, some epidemiologists project that the coronavirus’s death toll in Brazil could surpass that of the United States by late July. Latin America has become an epicenter of the pandemic in recent weeks, largely because of Brazil’s ballooning caseload.
About half of Friday’s increase was due to delayed reporting in three states, including São Paulo, health officials said.
The country’s response to the crisis has been widely criticized at home and abroad. President Jair Bolsonaro has dismissed the danger posed by the virus, sabotaged quarantine measures adopted at the state level and called on Brazilians to continue working to keep the economy from collapsing.
In early June, Brazil’s government removed numbers on coronavirus cases and deaths from the Health Ministry’s website, claiming without evidence that state officials had been reporting inflated figures to secure more federal funding. The numbers were later brought back after a Supreme Court justice ordered the government to stop suppressing the data.
As the country reached the one million case mark, the government was distracted by other political crises. An associate of Mr. Bolsonaro’s son, Senator Flávio Bolsonaro, was arrested on Thursday in connection with a corruption inquiry. The president also fired his education minister, who is being investigated over threats and insults against Supreme Court justices.
As several states repeatedly set record daily highs for new coronavirus cases this week, their officials aimed to subdue alarm while doubling down on calls for greater vigilance, mask-wearing and social distancing.
Florida, among the hardest hit states, reported 3,822 new cases on Friday, beating the single-day record it had set the previous day and bringing its total of cases close to 90,000. A total of 3,103 people have died.
South Carolina also reported a record of 1,081 new daily cases. It was the seventh time in 11 days that the state had broken its single-day case record, and the state epidemiologist has pleaded with residents to wear masks and practice social distancing.
“We understand that what we’re continuing to ask of everyone is not easy and that many are tired of hearing the same warnings and of taking the same daily precautions,” Dr. Linda Bell, the epidemiologist, said in a statement this week. “Every day that we don’t all do our part, we are extending the duration of illnesses, missed work, hospitalizations and deaths in our state.”
The recent spikes come as policymakers struggle to find a balance between resuming public life and keeping future outbreaks at bay.
This week, outbreaks have been growing in much of the South and West. Officials in Oklahoma and California also reported their highest daily case numbers on Thursday. And Texas became the sixth state in the nation to surpass 100,000 cases, according to a New York Times database. Cases there have doubled over the past month.
On Friday, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, a Republican, sought to allay concerns about the spike in cases. He attributed the rise to an increase of infections among people under 40, many of whom, he stressed, were asymptomatic and less likely to put a strain on hospitals.
The Trump administration has made a misleading claim that the recent jumps are a result of more aggressive testing. But public health officials point to the easing of restrictions at businesses such as bars and restaurants, and a lack of social distancing among many beachgoers, among other factors, to help explain the rise.
Demonstrators in France on Saturday doused the entrance to the country’s Health Ministry with bright red paint symbolizing blood, in protest over inadequate resources and poor working conditions in the country’s public hospitals.
The group of about 30 protesters also placed a giant fake “Medal of Contempt” on the steps of the ministry, in central Paris.
“It’s been years, months that health workers have been mobilizing to denounce the lack of resources in terms of staffing, beds and equipment,” said Aurélie Trouvé, a spokeswoman for ATTAC, a left-wing activist group.
“This government, and the previous ones, are responsible for thousands of deaths during this crisis,” she said. “They have blood on their hands.”
Over 29,500 people have died from the coronavirus in France. President Emmanuel Macron has praised French doctors and nurses as heroes during the pandemic, and the government has given bonuses of 1,500 euros (about $1,680) to public health care workers. The government is also in talks with unions over an investment plan for hospitals.
But French health workers say the government has not made concrete promises on issues like pay raises, increased hiring and a moratorium on plans to downsize or close hospitals.
The protesters also expressed anger at the government’s handling of a much larger demonstration of health workers last week in Paris, where violence broke out and the police used tear gas.
Ines Pujol, a spokeswoman for L’Inter-Urgences, a group of emergency health care workers, said at Saturday’s protest that “it took a pandemic, a global health crisis for the government and its institutions to take a look at public hospitals” and “for our suffering to be heard.”
More stringent restrictions were announced on Saturday in Victoria, Australia’s second most populous state, after the state experienced its highest numbers of new coronavirus cases in more than two months.
“The experts tell us that the numbers are largely being driven by families — families having big get-togethers and not following the advice around social distancing and hygiene,” Dan Andrews, the premier of the state, which includes Melbourne, said in a statement.
Melbourne has also been the site of protests this month against racism and police brutality that have been staged around the world since the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Groups of up to 20 people have been allowed to attend private gatherings in Victoria since June 1, but that number will be lowered to five beginning on Monday. Public gatherings will be limited to 10 people instead of 20. And the maximum number of customers in spaces like restaurants and pubs will remain at 20, Mr. Andrews said.
With Australia being held up as an example of how a country can effectively quell a coronavirus outbreak, some people have been operating on the assumption that if they follow regulations, they will be fine. Others feel frustrated by the inconsistencies in official advice or fear that rushing back to regular life before a vaccine is available is dangerous.
“Everything we’re doing is unknown territory,” said Hassan Vally, an epidemiologist and senior lecturer in public health at La Trobe University in Melbourne.
“What we do know,” he added, “is that as a society we can’t survive in complete lockdown until we get a vaccine.”
Spain was preparing on Saturday to lift a state of emergency that was introduced in mid-March as the country was struck by one of Europe’s most severe coronavirus outbreaks.
The removal of the state of emergency, which will officially take place at midnight, means that Spain’s 47 million residents will again be free to travel within the country, and international arrivals will no longer be required to undergo a quarantine period.
Many restrictions remain in place, including limits on the numbers of people allowed inside cafes and shops. The wearing of face masks in public also remains compulsory nationwide, including on public transit.
Spain registered 40 coronavirus deaths and about 1,500 new infections in the past week, a huge drop from early April, when the country’s pandemic death toll was rising by more than 900 per day.
As it warns against complacency, the government of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has cautioned that it will reinstall tough restrictions on movement if evidence emerges that Spain is entering a second wave of infections.
One of the biggest tests will come if tourists return in significant numbers for summer vacations. Despite lifting its state of emergency, Spain is keeping its land border closed with neighboring Portugal until July 1.
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Reporting was contributed by Livia Albeck-Ripka, Aurelien Breeden, Nancy Coleman, Tess Felder, Matthew Haag, Iliana Magra and Raphael Minder.