This year, Eid al-Fitr festivities will be silenced.
Eid al-Fitr's normally joyful holiday begins this weekend – in a Muslim world, where many governments have imposed restrictions to prevent the virus from spreading. This means that community prayers, parties and parties that normally mark the occasion are being restricted or discarded.
In Indonesia, where the number of coronavirus cases has risen sharply in the past few days, Islamic leaders have encouraged Muslims to celebrate the holiday, which ends the holy month of Ramadan, without meeting for traditional iftar dinners to break the fast on Saturday night. . And the country's largest mosque, Jakarta's Istiqlal Mosque, plans to offer televised prayers on Sunday.
In Bangladesh, the government has banned the huge Eid community prayers that normally take place in open fields, saying that the faithful must gather inside mosques. He also asked people not to shake hands or hug each other after praying, and he asked children, the elderly and any sick person to stay away from community prayers.
As for the mosques themselves, the government said they should be disinfected before and after each Eid meeting, and that all worshipers should bring hand sanitizer and wear masks while praying. Joynal Abedin, President Abdul Hamid's press secretary, told The New York Times that Hamid would say his own prayers in a conference room in his offices.
Samima Akter, 36, who lives near the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, said he left home to go to Eid's shop earlier this month wearing a mask. But the experience was stressful, she added, because many people were not listening to government advice on social distance.
"This year is not a pleasant Eid, as this virus is a matter of life and death for everyone in the country," she said.
In neighboring India, imams and community leaders have urged people to stay at home and follow the rules of social distance. Many cities maintain a 7 pm to 7 pm curfew.
And in the Indian city of Lucknow, known for its kebabs, butchers are closed amid a restriction on meat sales that went into effect in March.
Mohammed Raees Qureshi, owner of two butchers in Lucknow, said he hoped – unsuccessfully – that local authorities would allow him to open for at least a few days around Eid.
"If they give us some guidelines, we will be careful to follow them," he said. "But now there is only silence."
While the United States continues its move toward 100,000 coronavirus deaths, a dark landmark As expected, in the coming days, President Trump and members of his government began to question the official number of deaths from coronavirus, suggesting that the numbers are inflated.
Last Friday, Trump told reporters he accepted the current death toll, but that the numbers may be "less than" the official count, which is now over 95,000.
But most statisticians and public health experts they say the death toll is probably much higher than what is publicly known. People are dying in their homes and nursing homes without being tested, they say, and deaths earlier this year were likely to be identified as influenza or described only as pneumonia.
Dr. Deborah L. Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator, has publicly said that the American health care system incorporates a generous definition of a death caused by Covid-19.
“There are other countries that, if you had a pre-existing condition, let's say that the virus led you to go to the ICU and then have a heart or kidney problem – some countries are registering this as a heart or kidney problem. and not a Covid-19 death, ”she said at a press conference at the White House last month.
In a brief interview on Thursday, Birx emphasized that there was no pressure to change the data. But concerns about official statistics are not limited to the death toll or government officials.
Epidemiologists said they were surprised to learn that the CD was combining data from tests that detect active infection with those that detect recovery from Covid-19 – a system that disrupts the image of the pandemic, but increases the percentage of Americans tested as Trump is proud of the tests.
Experts said data from tests for active antibodies and viruses should never be mixed.
"It just doesn't make sense," said Natalie Dean, a biostatistics at the University of Florida. "We are all really confused."
Epidemiologists, state health officials and a CDC spokesman said there were no bad intentions; they attributed the defective notification system to the confusion and fatigue in state health departments and overworked workplaces that typically track infections – not tests – during outbreaks.
The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on the energy markets. Last month, the price of American benchmark oil fell below zero when the economy closed and demand fell.
And this weekend, a British company will pay some of its residential customers to use electricity – to connect the devices and run them at full speed.
So-called negative electricity prices often appear in wholesale energy markets, when a large electricity user, such as a factory or water treatment plant, is paid to consume more energy. Having too much energy on the line can lead to damaged equipment or even blackouts.
Negative prices have already been relatively rare, but during the pandemic, they suddenly became almost routine in Britain, Germany and other European countries.
In Britain, the price of energy fell in negative territory 66 times in April, more than double any previous month in the past decade, according to Iain Chappell, senior professor of sustainable energy at Imperial College in London. The reason for these dives is similar to what caused the oil price to dip: oversupply due to a collapse in demand.
The sub-zero pricing environment is allowing at least one innovative British energy retailer, called Octopus Energy, to offer to pay some of its customers 2 to 5 cents per kilowatt hour for the electricity they consume in periods of low demand, as expected on Sunday.
"This needs to become normal," said Greg Jackson, the company's founder and chief executive, who said the pandemic in Britain was offering a preview of "how the future will be" around the world.
In recent weeks, renewable energy sources have played an increasing role in the European electrical system, while at the same time burning coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel, has fallen.
Such a big drop is obviously good news for fighting climate change. But the combination of low demand and high levels of electricity generated by wind and solar energy is a major change that energy system operators are struggling to manage.
China on Saturday reported no new deaths from coronavirus or symptomatic cases, the first time the two cases were zero on any given day since the outbreak began in the country. But in the city of Wuhan, the original epicenter of the outbreak, the virus is still at the top of residents.
In the past two weeks, thousands of Wuhan's 11 million residents have stood in line outside the rows of tents in neighborhood alleys. They were waiting for the nose and throat to be cleared after the government announced an ambitious plan to test all the city's viruses.
The so-called "10 day battle" launched on May 14, it is a government effort to get a more accurate picture of the epidemic in Wuhan, especially for people who have the virus but have no symptoms. Some public health experts are closely watching the campaign to see if it can form a model for other governments that wish to return their societies to some level of normality.
"If you can quickly establish that a particular area is disease free, it will give people more confidence to leave," said Raina MacIntyre, head of the biosafety program at the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.
In reality, Wuhan's "10-day battle" is not as rigid as some reports have suggested. The neighborhoods have staggered their start dates. Many residents seemed to support the tests, which are free. But others refused, fearing they could be infected again while waiting for the tests.
Between May 14 and 20, about 3 million Wuhan residents were tested, according to government data. Ninety-nine of them had no symptoms.
In some districts, local authorities went from door to door to register residents and took them to nearby test stations. Organizers distributed pamphlets and made announcements on speakers and social media asking residents to register.
The test mobilized thousands of health professionals. A nurse, who worked from 9 am to 4 pm without a lunch break, was caught on video crying.
He exchanged his blazer and tie for the uncomfortable personal protective equipment and left the meeting room in the emergency room of the military hospital in Lisbon.
There, when a doctor entered service in the coronavirus pandemic, he faced patients with fever and cough and helped to align his care. Some of them, however, had a curious question.
“Just looking at my eyes, they said: & # 39; Hey, aren't you the president of Sporting? Can I take a selfie? & # 39; "
Frederico Varandas is in fact the president of Sporting Clube de Portugal, one of the biggest soccer teams in the country. He is also Dr. Frederico Varandas, a military reserve physician who completed a tour of Afghanistan a decade ago before changing careers.
Varandas, 40, was recently on call at the hospital for about six weeks, working 12-hour shifts, treating members of the military team and their families. His main task was to test and evaluate patients when they arrived, before handing over the severest to his colleagues in the intensive care unit.
He is not the only sports figure pressured by the medical service in the global fight against the virus. In Canada, for example, Hayley Wickenheiser, a four-time Olympic gold medalist in hockey and a medical student, was gathering protective equipment for workers and also helping in efforts to track the spread of the virus.
Although unexpected, Dr. Varandas found his medical service satisfactory.
"The sport stopped in Portugal and I thought that I am more important for the country that works as a doctor," he said.
It was unclear what authority President Trump was invoking on Friday when he marched into the White House meeting room and asked states "to allow our churches and places of worship to open now". He threatened to "annul" any governor who did not.
Declaring “essential” operations at places of worship, Trump said they should be allowed to perform services in person this weekend, regardless of state quarantine orders stemming from the coronavirus pandemic that killed almost 96,000 people in the United States.
"Governors need to do the right thing and allow these very important and essential places of faith to be open now for this weekend," said Trump, reading a prepared text before leaving after a minute without asking questions. "If they don't, I will replace the governors. In America, we need more prayer, not less."
The White House failed to explain what power the president really has to replace governors, and legal experts said he did not have that authority, but he could take states to court on religious freedom grounds, which could take a long time. Attorney General William P. Barr, a strong defender of religious rights, has been threat of legal action against California.
In California, more than 1,200 pastors signed a declaration protesting the state's restrictions on personal services and pledged to reopen their churches by May 31, even if restrictions are not lifted. Governor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, said on Friday that the state was working with religious leaders on guidelines to reopen "in a safe and responsible manner", which he said would be released on Monday at the latest.
Elian Peltier covered the coronavirus pandemic in Spain before returning to his home country, France. We asked him to tell us about a visit to his grandparents.
When France was locked up in March, my mother was relieved. Her parents were in a nursing home and, with travel restrictions suddenly in place, she and her sister were no longer able to drive the 50 miles south of Paris every weekend to visit them.
At least at home, my grandparents received the care they needed.
Then the virus slipped into the nursing homes and the relief became an alarm. Did a movement to protect my grandparents condemn them?
Thus began a long vigil of daily calls, weekly video chats and personalized postcards created online.
When I told my grandfather about reporting in Spain, I omitted the mention of bodies taken from apartment buildings in Barcelona and health professionals in protective suits who disinfected asylums in isolated villages. It was best to update him on the uncertain fate of the European football leagues and to recall our penalty kick practices in his garden in Beaugency, where I spent the summer as a child.
The coronavirus killed about 14,000 residents of nursing homes in France – half the death toll in the country. We are fortunate that, so far, none of these deaths have occurred at my grandparents' house, where caregivers were aware of social distance.
When France started easing the blockade last week, we finally managed to visit, or rather, sit outside, while my grandparents sat inside, a few meters away. To allow us to hear, the team opened the door, but placed a table with an acrylic partition on the door.
We were able to see my grandparents only one at a time, as they are in different parts of the house that can no longer mix socially. My grandfather, a former bricklayer, misses many things that we still can't deliver, like shorts, because of the strict rules of the house. It is my grandmother's company that he misses most.
My grandmother, once a wonderful cook known to her basquaise poulet and cherry cakes, there's Alzheimer's. When she struggled to recognize me, I broke the rules and took off my mask for a second. A nurse gently stroked her hair while we talked. My mother and I were a little jealous that the nurse could do what we couldn't.
For now, I intend to finally read my grandfather's diaries on military service in Chad when he was my age. He gave it to me for Christmas; I thought I had a lot of time to read them. That was before he suffered a stroke and before the pandemic created a new normal.
Pandemics are often described as communication crises, when leaders must convince entire populations to suspend their lives because of an invisible threat. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, from New Zealand, stands out – improving epidemiology with empathy and promoting legal issues with mothers' jokes.
It has been surprisingly effective.
Ardern helped to convince New Zealanders – "our five million team" – she says – to buy a block so severe that even retrieving a lost cricket ball in a neighbor's yard was banned. Now the country, despite some initial struggles with contact tracking, has almost eliminated the virus, leaving isolation with only 21 deaths and a few dozen active cases.
Haloes can turn heretics into legitimate critics, including epidemiologists who argue that New Zealand's blockade has gone too far, that other countries have suppressed the virus with less damage to small businesses.
And Ardern's canonization diminishes two powerful forces behind his success: his own hard work in making connections with constituents and New Zealand's political culture, which in the 1990s overhauled the way he votes, creating a system that forces political parties to work together.
"You need the whole context, the way the political system has evolved," said Helen Clark, a former prime minister who hired Ardern as a consultant more than a decade ago. "It is not easily transferable."
The coronavirus is taking a "different path" in Africa, compared to its trajectory in other regions, the World Health Organization reported on Friday.
Mortality rates are lower in Africa than elsewhere, W.H.O. he said, theorizing that the young population of the continent could explain this.
The virus affected all 55 countries on the continent, which recently confirmed its 100,000th case, with 3,100 deaths. When Europe's infection count reached this point, recorded 4,900 deaths.
"For now, Covid-19 has hit soft ground in Africa, and the continent has been spared the high number of deaths that have devastated other regions of the world," said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the organization's regional director for Africa.
More than 60% of people in Africa are under the age of 25, and Covid-19 particularly affects older populations. In Europe, about 95% of virus deaths are among people aged 60 and over.
Many health experts questioned the WHO figures, however, saying that the testing capacity of most African countries is extremely limited – in part because they struggle to get the diagnostic equipment they need – and that deaths as a result of Covid -19 are sub-counted.
In some places, they say, low official numbers of cases and deaths mask a much more serious reality.
In Kano, a busy shopping center in northern Nigeria, the official number of confirmed cases is low, but so is the number of samples he can test. The gravediggers report that they are burying many more bodies than normal, and doctors say that deaths are almost certainly caused by Covid-19, but few of them are tested before burial.
"Most people who are dying are over 60 and most have other conditions," like hypertension or diabetes, said Professor Yusuf Adamu, a medical geographer in Kano. He said that many residents appeared to have mild symptoms, but often avoided testing.
Chechnya's strong leader, a close ally of President Vladimir V. Putin, is hospitalized with possible symptoms of the coronavirus, state news agencies say. A spokesman suggests that he is only keeping a low profile because he is "thinking".
The uncertainty about the health of the leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, has wide implications, just as the virus is shaking the volatile and predominantly Muslim region of the southern Caucasus in Russia.
Even Chechnya's own status as part of Russia – at issue in two wars in the post-Soviet era – revolves largely in the close ties between Kadyrov and Putin.
Official figures are still low – Chechnya has recorded 1,046 cases of the virus and 11 deaths – but signs are emerging daily that the toll across the Caucasus it is much bigger and growing.
The pandemic appears to be reaching the neighboring republic of Dagestan more. Putin held an unusual televised videoconference with Dagestan leaders this week, warning that the traditional festivities that marked the end of Ramadan this weekend pose a threat.
One of the main clergy, Mufti Akhmad Abdulayev, told Putin that more than 700 people died at the scene, including 50 medical workers.
On Thursday, Tobi Lütke, founder and chief executive of Shopify, based in Ottawa, announced on Twitter that the majority of his company's 5,000 employees have permanently become home workers.
This happened the same day in a similar Facebook ad and followed movements of Twitter remote work and OpenText, one of the pillars of Canada's technology industry based in Waterloo, Ontario.
Shopify, the most valuable corporation on the Canadian stock exchange, provides products and services that allow small and medium-sized retailers to travel online, a popular resource for those suffering from the pandemic.
In the post-pandemic world, the company's Canadian offices will become "recruitment centers" and places where employees can meet in person when needed.
It seems beyond unpleasant for anyone who still has a job to complain about where they perform their job tasks. But for many people, remote work is an undesirable novelty.
When India imposed a national blockade on March 25, thousands upon thousands of migrant workers, without work, began long and treacherous journeys through India's cities, often on foot.
But Mohan Paswan, a rickshaw driver from a lower line in India's caste system, had been injured in a traffic accident in January and was barely able to walk. He and his 15-year-old daughter, Jyoti Kumari, did not have transport or nearly money, as they were looking to return from New Delhi to their village, halfway to India.
His saving grace was a $ 20 purple bike purchased with the last of his savings. Beginning May 8, Jyoti cycled 700 miles with his father on his back, delivering them home safely last weekend.
Many days they had little food. They slept at gas stations. They lived on the generosity of strangers. Cycling was not easy. Her dad is big and he was carrying a bag. Sometimes people teased them, disturbing him.
The country's press took advantage of Jyoti's good story the "lion heart. "
On Thursday, the Cycling Federation of India, which seeks young talent and sends the best to international competitions, including the Olympics, located Jyoti through a journalist and invited her to New Delhi for a test with the national team.
Contacted by phone on Friday in his village of Sirhulli, in Bihar, one of the poorest states in India, Jyoti said in a hoarse and exhausted voice: "I am happy, I really want to go."
How to have a safer weekend on Memorial Day.
This is Memorial Day weekend in the United States, when beaches and backyard barbecues beckon. While many places will continue to reopen, you shouldn't be meeting in groups yet – but as many people will, here are some guidelines for decreasing your risk of coronavirus.
The reports were contributed by Tariq Panja, Stanley Reed, Ian Austen, Julfikar Ali Manik, Shalini Venugopal, Richard C. Paddock, Mike Ives, Anton Troianovski, Jeffrey Gettleman, Suhasini Raj, Damien Cave, Peter Baker, Peter Baker, Michael Cooper and Sui-Lee Wee. Louis Lucero, Jennifer Jett, Jin Wu, Elian Peltier, Maggie Haberman, Noah Weiland, Abby Goodnough, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Sheila Kaplan and Sarah Mervosh.