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Did Redirect to Biden’s Official Campaign Website?

Shortly after presumptive U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden announced Sen. Kamala Harris of California as his running mate, Snopes readers asked us to verify a number of rumors and claims surrounding the Democratic ticket and their respective campaigns. Among them was the question of whether the URL automatically redirects to the official campaign website of Biden and Harris.

A quick search by Snopes confirmed this rumor to be based in truth (our search is recorded in the video clip shown below). As of Aug. 12, 2020, the URL redirected internet users to However, at the time of publication (Aug. 13), the site and its redirect had been removed. 


Rumored associations with the political protest movement antifa, short for anti-fascists, have plagued Biden’s campaign. In June 2020, the politician was falsely accused of having called the far-left network a “courageous group of Americans.”

According to the Anti-Defamation League, antifa is not a unified group but rather a “loose collection of local/regional groups and individuals” that many civil rights organizations have deemed “dangerous and counterproductive” for their use or endorsement of intimidation and violence.

At this time it is unknown who implemented the web redirect. Anyone who owns or has access to a domain can establish either a temporary or permanent URL redirect, which essentially tells a search engine that the page has moved. As such, a redirect simply directs site visitors to a different URL when they click a particular link, according to website hosting platform Squarespace.

Snopes contacted the Biden campaign for comment regarding any potential involvement with the redirect but did not hear back at the time of publication. We will update the article accordingly.

According to Whois, an online domain registry record, was registered on April 24, 2002, and was last updated on Oct. 23, 2019. We dug through the internet archives to establish a timeline of the domain in order to determine when the redirect was created. Here’s what we found:

  • The earliest archive of the URL listed the domain as for sale on Nov. 21, 2008. The domain remained available for sale until Jan. 30, 2020, according to our analysis of the archives.
  • The first archived version of the URL that directly associates it to the antifa political group is dated May 31, 2020.
  • On July 23, 2020, the most recent version of the “antifa” website was available with a note that an updated website would be coming soon.
  • Aug. 8, 2020, marked the first archived version of the website that redirected visitors to
  • An Aug. 12, 2020, archived version of confirmed that a redirect from had been established to send users to the official campaign website. (See below.)

  • On Aug. 12, 2020, showed a “500 – Internal Server Error” message. At the time of publication, the website is listed as unavailable.

It’s not the first time Biden’s website has been the target of internet hoaxes. In 2019, Republican consulting firm Vici Media Group created, a mock website for the presidential hopeful that featured pictures, videos, and animated GIFs of Biden appearing to kiss and touch young women and girls. The marketing group also created fake websites for other Democratic candidates, including Sens. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Kamala Harris.

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Israel, UAE agree to normalize ties in what Trump calls ‘historic’ agreement

President Donald Trump said in a surprise announcement Thursday that Israel and the United Arab Emirates had agreed to normalize relations and that, as part of the deal, Israel would not annex parts of the West Bank it currently occupies.

“Israel and the United Arab Emirates will fully normalize their diplomatic relations,” Trump said, surrounded by aides in the Oval Office. “They will exchange embassies and ambassadors and begin cooperation across the board and on a broad range of areas including tourism, education, healthcare, trade and security.”

In a joint statement, Trump, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the UAE’s ruler, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, said that the “historic diplomatic breakthrough will advance peace in the Middle East region.”

PHOTO: This combination of pictures shows Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem and Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed. (AFP via Getty Images)

Delegations from Israel and the UAE “will meet in the coming weeks to sign bilateral agreements regarding investment, tourism, direct flights, security, telecommunications, technology, energy, healthcare, culture, the environment, the establishment of reciprocal embassies, and other areas of mutual benefit,” the leaders said in the statement, released Thursday morning.

“Now that the ice has been broken, I expect more Arab and Muslim countries will follow the United Arab Emirates’ lead,” Trump said.

While the president lauded the deal as a “peace agreement,” the UAE stopped short of using that terminology and instead emphasized the fact that Israel had committed to not annex parts of the West Bank. Netanyahu had been contemplating doing so in recent months, using a peace proposal released by the White House earlier this year to support the move — which had drawn condemnation across the world.

MORE: President Trump unveils Middle East peace plan embraced by Israel, rejected by Palestinians

In his first comment on the agreement, Prince Mohammed wrote on Twitter that “an agreement was reached to stop further Israeli annexation of Palestinian territories.”

“The UAE and Israel also agreed to cooperation and setting a roadmap towards establishing a bilateral relationship,” the crown prince added.

PHOTO: President Donald Trump smiles in the Oval Office at the White House, Aug. 13, 2020. (Andrew Harnik/AP)
PHOTO: President Donald Trump smiles in the Oval Office at the White House, Aug. 13, 2020. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

But later Thursday, Netanyahu referred to Israel’s annexation plans as temporarily paused. Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner declined to say what “temporary” meant.

“Somewhere between a long time and a short time,” Kushner, whom the president had tasked with solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, said, when asked by a reporter at the White House.

Israel has formal diplomatic ties with just two other Arab countries, Egypt and Jordan, with which it signed peace treaties in 1979 and 1994, respectively.

But it has also come to cooperate in recent years with Gulf Arab states, including the UAE — unofficially — in large part on security matters related to what they view as a shared enemy in Iran.

Palestinian leaders, meanwhile, have pushed Arab and Muslim states to hold off normalizing ties with Israel until the Jewish state resolves its conflict with the Palestinian people. They called Thursday’s announcement a “betrayal” by the UAE.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called an emergency meeting to discuss the announcement, according to the Palestinian news agency Wafa.

PHOTO: President Donald Trump welcomes Crown Prince Shaikh Mohammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan of United Arab Emirates, for a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House, on May 15, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images, FILE)
PHOTO: President Donald Trump welcomes Crown Prince Shaikh Mohammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan of United Arab Emirates, for a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House, on May 15, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images, FILE)

A spokesman for Abbas, Nabil Abu Rdeneh, said that the agreement amounted to “treason” and that it should be retracted, according to the Associated Press. Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, said the deal was a “stabbing in the back of our people,” according to the AP.

Trump’s top national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, said the president “has not forgotten” the Palestinians, but Kushner said “a lot of people in the region are seeing that we can’t wait for the Palestinian leadership to try and resolve this.”

“Every country is going to do what’s in their best interest, what’s in the region’s best interest, and we have big problems in the world and we can’t be stuck in the past,” Kushner said. “We have to be moving forward.”

In their joint statement Thursday, Trump, Netanyahu and Prince Mohammed said Israel and the UAE would “immediately expand and accelerate cooperation regarding the treatment of and the development of a vaccine for the coronavirus.”

MORE: Timing of Mideast peace plan rollout appears designed to contrast with impeachment trial: ANALYSIS

At the White House, Trump called the agreement “historic” and said it would be called the Abraham Accord, which the U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, explained was intended to signal “the potential for unity” among Muslims, Jews and Christians.

“I wanted it to be called the Donald J. Trump Accord, but I didn’t think the press would understand that,” Trump said to laughter from his aides. “So, I didn’t do that.”

Asked if he supported Israel annexing Palestinian land, Trump said “we’re talking to Israel about that right now,” without elaborating. Later, asked during a news conference how long Israel would suspend its annexation plan, Trump deferred to Friedman, who was sitting nearby.

“How long that takes, I can’t tell you, but that’s — we prioritize peace over the sovereignty movement,” he said. “But it’s not off the table, it’s just something that will be deferred until we give peace every single chance.

Trump promised “an official signing at the White House over the next few weeks,” later saying he thought it would happen within three weeks.

Such a ceremony, if it happened, would come just a couple months before the Nov. 3 vote in which Americans render a verdict on whether Trump should have a second term as president.

Trump has long pitched himself as a dealmaker, but in three and a half years as president has overseen few major international agreements.

His proposal for peace between Israel and the Palestinians, which he unveiled in January, was immediately rejected by the Palestinians and has yet to produce any movement.

On Thursday, Kushner, who oversaw the development of that plan, said he did not know when such a deal could be reached.

“I don’t know if it will happen tomorrow,” Kushner said. “I don’t know if it’ll happen next month. I don’t know if it’ll happen next year. But at some point, we always learn with deals that there’s a thing called gravity.”

But announcing the Israel-UAE agreement, Trump’s aides lavished him with praise.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if the President is eventually nominated for a Nobel Prize,” the president’s top national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, told reporters Thursday. “Today’s work is an example of why he would be rightly considered and should be a front-runner for the Nobel Peace Prize.”

ABC News’ Nasser Atta contributed reporting from Jerusalem.

Israel, UAE agree to normalize ties in what Trump calls ‘historic’ agreement originally appeared on

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Chris Wallace: Trump struggling with attacks on ‘shape-shifter’ Harris

Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallaceChris Wallace: Kamala Harris ‘not far to the left despite what Republicans are gonna try to say’ Mnuchin: Democrats will ‘have a lot of explaining to do’ if they want to challenge Trump orders in court Pelosi: Trump executive actions ‘are illusions’ MORE of Fox News said Thursday that policy shifts by Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisCandidates on Biden’s VP list were asked what they thought Trump would nickname them as part of process: report Bass on filling Harris’s Senate spot: ‘I’ll keep all my options open’ Election security advocates see strong ally in Harris MORE (D-Calif.) over the years are making it hard for President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew Bob Woodward book will include details of 25 personal letters between Trump and Kim Jong Un On The Money: Pelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemate | Trump grabs ‘third rail’ of politics with payroll tax pause | Trump uses racist tropes to pitch fair housing repeal to ‘suburban housewife’ Biden commemorates anniversary of Charlottesville ‘Unite the Right’ rally: ‘We are in a battle for the soul of our nation’ MORE and his allies to focus their attacks on former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenRon Johnson signals some GOP senators concerned about his Obama-era probes On The Money: Pelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemate | Trump grabs ‘third rail’ of politics with payroll tax pause | Trump uses racist tropes to pitch fair housing repeal to ‘suburban housewife’ Biden commemorates anniversary of Charlottesville ‘Unite the Right’ rally: ‘We are in a battle for the soul of our nation’ MORE‘s running mate.

Harris has “moved to the left as a senator in Washington,” Wallace said in an interview with “The Brian Kilmeade Show” on Fox News Radio.

“Having said that, I think when you talk about people on the far left of the Democratic Party like Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenNew poll shows Markey with wide lead over Kennedy in Massachusetts Trump and allies grapple with how to target Harris Chris Wallace: Kamala Harris ‘not far to the left despite what Republicans are gonna try to say’ MORE, some of the others, I actually still don’t think that I would put her in that group, and it’s one of the reasons that I think that the Trump campaign and President Trump himself have had some trouble in figuring out how to go after her,” said the host of “Fox News Sunday.”

“Because if anything, I think it’s kind of legitimate to say that she is a shape-shifter. She does evolve,” Wallace added.

He went on to characterize Harris as “pretty moderate” from her time as California attorney general.

“She was seen as being too tough in prosecuting drug cases. She was seen as being too soft in going after policemen who were involved in shootings. She opposed a special prosecutor to investigate police and shootings, so she was pretty moderate then,” Wallace said.

His remarks come two days after Biden named her as his running mate. The president, his campaign and allies have since sought to label Harris as a “radical” from the far-left, despite her more centrist positions compared to other former presidential candidates like Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOcasio-Cortez’s 2nd grade teacher tells her ‘you’ve got this’ ahead of DNC speech Trump and allies grapple with how to target Harris Chris Wallace: Kamala Harris ‘not far to the left despite what Republicans are gonna try to say’ MORE (I-Vt.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)

A Morning Consult poll released Thursday found that voters don’t see Harris as far to the left as progressives like Sanders and Warren. The same survey showed that Trump and Vice President Pence are closer to “very conservative” than Biden and Harris are to “very liberal.”

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Coronavirus Live Updates: 5 South Texas Communities Become Leading U.S. Hot Spots

Five border communities in Texas have escalating rates of new cases.

The communities with the highest rates of new cases relative to their populations all lie along the border with Mexico or on the Gulf Coast: Brownsville-Harlingen, Eagle Pass, Rio Grande City, Corpus Christi and Laredo, according to data compiled by The New York Times. Four of the five metro areas with the worst death rates in the country over the last two weeks were also in the South Texas border region.

The numbers underscore the virulence of the virus in Texas, where officials have struggled to both keep the state open and curb infection. More than 300 deaths were announced in the state on Wednesday, and the state is approaching a total death toll of 10,000.

Representative Filemon B. Vela Jr., a Democrat whose district includes Brownsville and Harlingen, said that in late June, he did not know anyone who had the virus. Now, he said, he knows hundreds. “In one day, I had four people who I knew die,” Mr. Vela said.

In Laredo, hospitals have been at or near capacity every day. The state turned a local Red Roof Inn into a 106-bed temporary hospital for coronavirus patients with mild cases, but local leaders have been urging officials to allow patients with more serious cases in.

“We see an unprecedented amount of death,” said Dr. Victor Treviño, the top health official in Laredo, adding, “When the state opened, that’s when we saw the infection rate increase dramatically.”

Mr. Vela and other congressional Democrats in Texas have criticized Gov. Greg Abbott’s handling of the state’s reopening. When Mr. Abbott, a Republican, reopened the state in phases beginning May 1, he lifted the state’s stay-at-home order and prohibited local officials from adopting their own. After cases increased, Mr. Abbott paused the reopening, ordered bars to close and issued a mask mandate for most Texans.

“Shutting down the bars isn’t enough,” said Mr. Vela, who called on the governor on Thursday to issue stay-at-home orders in hard-hit counties or allow local officials to put them in place. On Thursday, Mr. Abbott met with officials in the West Texas city of Lubbock and warned the public about what he called “Covid fatigue.” In remarks to reporters, he urged Texans to continue to wear masks, though he was without one as he spoke at an indoor news conference.

“If people do not continue to, in a very disciplined way, maintain the highest level of standards, what you will see is an acceleration of the expansion of Covid-19,” the governor said.

The virus has had a scattershot effect in Texas, with some regions seeing rising numbers and others reporting a decrease in cases. And on Wednesday, State Senator Kel Seliger, a Republican and former four-term mayor of Amarillo and one of the most prominent political figures in the region announced on Twitter, that he had tested positive for the virus.

Efforts to reach an agreement on another pandemic stimulus package could get even tougher after weekly new jobless claims fell below one million for the first time since March and the federal budget deficit continued to hit record highs, reaching $2.8 trillion in July — two major elements that could shift the negotiating landscape.

Republicans and Democrats have been at odds over how much to spend on another round of stimulus aid, with Democrats, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the minority leader, pushing for at least $2 trillion and the White House insisting on staying around $1 trillion.

Democrats have insisted that much more than $1 trillion is needed for humanitarian and economic reasons. Republicans have objected to that price tag, with some lawmakers and White House officials saying the economy is beginning to recover and doesn’t need that level of support and that the United States cannot afford to keep piling on debt.

Those positions could further harden given that weekly jobless claims, which had been above one million for months, fell below that number last week, with 963,000 people filing first-time claims for benefits under regular state unemployment programs. On Thursday, Ms. Pelosi doubled down on the Democrats’ position, saying that they would not agree to a stimulus package unless it provided at least $2 trillion of additional aid.

Ms. Pelosi also said she did not plan to deliver her convention speech from Washington, signaling that she did not expect in-person negotiations in the coming days.

The Treasury Department said on Wednesday that the budget deficit had reached a historic high of $2.8 trillion, in large part because of spending from the first $2.2 trillion pandemic package that lawmakers approved in March.

Even before those numbers were released, some Republicans in Washington were already saying they hoped no additional aid would be forthcoming because of the ballooning deficit.

“From my standpoint, the breakdown in the talks is very good news. It’s very good news for future generations,” Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, said in an interview last week with Breitbart News. “I hope the talks remain broken down.”

But economists warn it is too early to withdraw aid, especially given that the virus has not abated and the pace of rehiring has slowed. Millions of Americans remain out of work and much of the spending power from the last stimulus package has run out, including an extra $600 per week in unemployment aid.

“It remains quite stunning that Congress has yet to agree on a fresh round of relief legislation with so many Americans hurting financially,” said Mark Hamrick, senior economist at

In other U.S. news:

  • The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed Rhode Island to make voting by mail easier in the November election. The court rejected a request from Republicans that it block a lower court’s order, which had suspended a requirement that absentee ballots be completed in front of witnesses or a notary.

  • Five months after AMC Theatres closed all its U.S. cinemas — crowded indoor spaces not being the best places to be during a pandemic — the company announced that it would reopen more than 100 theaters across the country on Aug. 20. To celebrate its 100th anniversary, the company said it would price all movies that day at 15 cents, so “moviegoers can again enjoy the magic of the big screen at 1920 ticket prices.” Twitter users were less than thrilled by the gimmick. “Only 15¢ for the chance to catch a deadly virus!” one wrote. “Bargain of a lifetime.”

The country is not where it should be in terms of staving off the pandemic, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said on Tuesday.

“Bottom line is, I’m not pleased with how things are going,” he told the ABC News journalist Deborah Roberts at a National Geographic panel.

Describing himself as “quite exhausted,” Dr. Fauci said that disparities between the ways different states were handling the situation were keeping the country from bringing it under control once and for all. To end the pandemic, he said, Americans would have to “pull together” by wearing masks, washing their hands and avoiding crowds, among other safety measures.

“You can’t run away from the numbers of people who’ve died,” he said, also pointing to the hospitalization rates and recent surges. “It’s going to depend on us.”

In 40 years of leading efforts against H.I.V., Ebola and other viral disease outbreaks, Dr. Fauci said, he had never experienced the rancor that has colored the national conversation on the coronavirus, which he said “has taken on a political tone like nothing I’ve ever seen.”

Dr. Robert R. Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sounded a similar theme on Wednesday about the need for universal mask-wearing and social distancing.

“I keep telling people, I’m not asking some of America to do it,” Dr. Redfield said. “We’ve all got to do it.”

He said the United States was paying the price for failing to invest in public health.

“We need to owe it to our children and grandchildren that this nation is never underprepared again for a public health crisis,” he said in an interview with Dr. John Whyte, chief medical officer of WebMD.

Trump’s testing czar expresses satisfaction with testing levels.

The Trump administration official in charge of coronavirus testing said on Thursday that the United States was doing enough testing to slow the spread of the virus — an assessment at odds with that of public health experts who say more testing with faster results is necessary.

“We are doing the appropriate amount of testing now to reduce the spread, flatten the curve, save lives,” the official, Adm. Brett M. Giroir, told reporters on a conference call.

Dr. Giroir made his remarks as the Department of Health and Human Services announced that the administration was investing $6.5 million in two commercial laboratories to beef up testing capacity. He argued that the pandemic was moving in the right direction, with the number of hospitalizations declining nationally, and said the test positivity rate — the percentage of tests that come back positive — was under 7 percent.

“It is clear that the number of cases is decreasing,” he said, “and that decrease is real.”

Some experts disagreed.

“Unfortunately, the United States needs to improve testing to reduce spread and flatten the curve,” said Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

While the national positivity rate may be around 7 percent, she noted, “several states have double-digit positivities.”

Mark McClellan, director of the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy, who was commissioner of food and drugs under former President George W. Bush, agreed, writing, “I don’t think we have enough, which seems reinforced by the significant continuing community spread and resulting disruptions to schools, economy, etc.”

Dr. Giroir said the issue was not the total number of tests being conducted, but how tests were being deployed. He said that by testing a minimum of 2 percent of the population, health professionals could detect hot spots and outbreaks, and then increase testing in those areas to get a better handle on the spread of the virus.

“You beat the virus by smart policies supplemented by strategic testing,” he said. “You do not beat the virus by shotgun testing everyone all the time.”

Distrust of the president hardened the conviction of some educators that teaching in person was unsafe.

In June, as the coronavirus crisis appeared to hit a lull in the United States, teachers and parents across the country finally began feeling optimistic about reopening schools in the fall. Going back into the classroom seemed possible. Districts started to pull together plans. Then came a tweet.

“SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!” President Trump declared on July 6, voicing a mantra he would repeat again and again in the coming weeks, with varying degrees of threat, as he sought to jump-start the nation’s flagging economy.

Around the same time, caseloads in much of the country started to climb again. In the weeks since, hundreds of districts have reversed course and decided to start the school year with remote instruction.

By some estimates, at least half of the nation’s children will now spend a significant portion of the fall, or longer, learning in front of their laptops.

Rising infection rates were clearly the major driver of the move to continue remote learning. But Mr. Trump’s often bellicose demands for reopening classrooms helped harden the view of many educators that it would be unsafe.

“If you had told me that Trump was doing this as a favor to the schools-must-not-open crowd, I’d believe you,” said Rick Hess, director of education policy at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank.

Indeed, as the president has pushed for schools to reopen, parents have largely moved in the other direction. A recent Washington Post poll found that parents disapprove of Mr. Trump’s handling of school reopening by a two-thirds majority. And a new Gallup poll shows that fewer parents want their children to return to school buildings now than did in the spring.

Across the country, tension among unions, school officials, local authorities and governors over who should call the shots has led to mixed messages about whether students will be attending in-person classes, with many districts only weeks, or even days, away from scheduled reopenings.

On Wednesday, New York City’s bid to become the only major district to bring students back into physical classrooms hit a snag. The city’s influential principals’ and teachers’ unions called on Mayor Bill de Blasio to delay the start of in-person instruction by several weeks before phasing students back into buildings throughout the fall. Students are scheduled to return to classrooms one to three days a week starting Sept. 10.

On Thursday, Mr. de Blasio announced that all of New York City’s roughly 1,300 public school buildings will have a full-time, certified nurse in place by the time schools are scheduled to physically reopen. The announcement fulfills a major safety demand made by the teachers’ union. The union has also demanded that the city upgrade outdated ventilation systems and create a clearer protocol for testing and tracing in schools.

The collateral damage from the pandemic continues: Young adults and Black and Latino people in particular describe rising levels of anxiety, depression and even suicidal thoughts, and increased substance abuse, according to findings reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In a survey, U.S. residents reported signs of eroding mental health, in reaction to the toll of coronavirus illnesses and deaths and to the life-altering restrictions imposed by lockdowns.

The researchers argue that the results point to an urgent need for expanded and culturally sensitive services for mental health and substance abuse. The online survey was completed by 5,470 people in late June. The prevalence of anxiety symptoms was three times as high as those reported in the second quarter of 2019, and depression was four times as high.

The impact was felt most keenly by young adults ages 18 to 24. According to Mark Czeisler, a researcher at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, nearly 63 percent had symptoms of anxiety or depression that they attributed to the pandemic and nearly a quarter had started or increased their uses of substances to cope with their emotions.

Overall, nearly 41 percent reported symptoms of at least one adverse reaction, ranging from anxiety and depression to post-traumatic stress disorder. Nearly 11 percent said they had suicidal thoughts in the month leading up to the survey, with the greatest clusters being among Black and Latino people, essential workers and unpaid caregivers for adults. Men were more likely to express such feelings than women were.

The researchers, who represent a joint effort largely between Monash University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, said the symptoms were less pronounced in older groups.

Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia said on Thursday that he was abandoning a lawsuit against city officials in Atlanta over the city’s attempt to require mask-wearing and resume tighter coronavirus precautions. But the move did not signal that the governor had stopped fighting the city’s moves or that he had reached any kind of detente with Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms of Atlanta.

In place of the lawsuit, Governor Kemp said he would issue a new executive order this week that will probably forbid city governments from requiring businesses to make their customers wear face masks. But he was also expected to lift an earlier order forbidding cities from issuing mask mandates for public places.

The judge handling the lawsuit had ordered the governor and the mayor to try to negotiate a settlement, but the talks did not succeed. “Unfortunately, the mayor has made it clear that she will not agree to a settlement that safeguards the rights of private property owners in Georgia,” Mr. Kemp said in a statement on Thursday. “Given this stalemate in negotiations, we will address this very issue in the next executive order.”

Mr. Kemp, a Republican, had been criticized for moving slowly to issue a statewide stay-at-home order when the coronavirus first started spreading, and then starting to reopen the state prematurely while the virus remained uncontrolled.

Ms. Bottoms, a Democrat, has supported more stringent measures to curb the spread of the virus. (She also tested positive for the virus herself over the summer.) On July 10, citing a surge in new cases in Atlanta, she ordered the city to return to Phase One of its reopening plan, which mandates that people cover their faces in public and stay at home except for essential trips. Restaurants and retail stores would have to go back to takeout and curbside pickup only.

Mr. Kemp responded with the lawsuit, saying the mayor had no such authority and that legally her order was merely a suggestion. He said on Thursday that he had filed the suit to “immediately stop the shuttering of local businesses and protect local workers from economic instability.”

Ms. Bottoms responded with a tweet on Thursday that included a screenshot of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s article on the governor’s announcement and a quote from Audre Lorde: “Sometimes we are blessed with being able to choose the time, and the arena, and the manner of our revolution, but more usually we must do battle where we are standing.”

Biden, appealing to governors, calls for nationwide mask mandates to fight the virus.

Joseph R. Biden Jr. called on Thursday for governors to require mask wearing in their states, saying that he believed that all Americans should wear face coverings to fight the spread of the virus.

“Every single American should be wearing a mask when they’re outside for the next three months at a minimum,” said Mr. Biden, the presumptive presidential candidate for the Democrats.

The remarks came after Mr. Biden and Kamala Harris, the presumptive vice-presidential nominee, met with public health officials in Delaware for a briefing on the virus — yet another signal of their intention to make the pandemic a major part of their effort to unseat President Trump.

So far, more than 30 states have enacted mask requirements, following public health guidance that covering mouths and noses could reduce the spread of the virus. The mandates have been met with resistance from some, including a number of Republican leaders who see the rules as infringements on personal liberty.

Mr. Biden countered by saying wearing a mask was a necessary civic duty.

“It’s not about your rights,” he said. “It’s about your responsibilities as an American.”

Ms. Harris, who on Wednesday criticized Mr. Trump’s management of the pandemic, supported Mr. Biden’s comments.

“That’s what real leadership looks like,” she said.

The two did not answer questions from reporters.


Greece reports a virus case at one of its overcrowded island migrant camps.

A 35-year-old man from Yemen living at the Vial camp on Chios tested positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday night, a Greek Migration Ministry official said, and a woman employed at the camp by a branch of the European Asylum Support Office tested positive on Thursday.

The man, who arrived from neighboring Turkey in September, has been hospitalized on the island with mild symptoms. Another 25 camp residents believed to have been in contact with him have been quarantined, the official said. Contact tracing for the woman was still in progress.

The Chios infections are not the first in a Greek migrant camp — dozens of cases were reported in April at three facilities on the mainland. But they are the first in an island camp, where overcrowding is the most intense.

Greece has generally weathered the pandemic better than many of its neighbors, recording around 6,000 cases since late February and just over 200 deaths. But daily case reports have increased sharply in recent weeks, prompting the authorities to reintroduce some restrictions. The country reported 262 cases on Wednesday, its highest figure so far; only 29 of them appeared to be linked to foreign arrivals.

In other news from around the world:

  • India has now reported the fourth most coronavirus-related deaths in the world after the United States, Brazil and Mexico. It surpassed Britain on Thursday. The country has recorded at least 47,033 deaths so far, according to a New York Times database. Britain’s total as of Thursday morning was 46,706.

  • President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, who offered this week to be “injected in public” with Russia’s coronavirus vaccine to allay concerns about its safety, may not be cleared to do so until May 1, 2021, his government said on Thursday. A spokesman for Mr. Duterte said the president would not take part in Russian-financed clinical trials scheduled to begin in the Philippines in October.

  • Canada has established a system to divert fresh food that would otherwise go unused because of restaurant shutdowns to food banks and other relief agencies. Marie-Claude Bibeau, the agriculture minister, said on Thursday that the project would prevent about 12 million kilograms of food, including eggs, meat, seafood and vegetables, from going to waste.

  • Officials in multiple provinces in China said the virus had been found on packaging of seafood imports from Ecuador, and Shenzhen said a sample of frozen chicken wings from Brazil had tested positive. Officials in China only tested for coronavirus genetic material on the imported food and packaging, but it is unclear if there was infectious virus and there is no evidence to suggest that people can get the virus from food.

  • A 68-year-old woman in the Chinese province of Hubei, where the global outbreak was first detected, tested positive again this month after recovering from a case of the virus recorded in February, officials said. Another man who had recovered from an infection in April was also found to be an asymptomatic carrier in Shanghai this week. The two cases have revived concerns about mysterious second-time infections that have baffled experts since the early days of the pandemic, with some blaming testing flaws. Other experts have said that it is highly unlikely that the virus would strike a person twice within a short window, and that reports of reinfection may instead be cases of drawn-out illness.

  • The British government wants to appoint a “head of pandemic preparedness” to review the government’s approach and to act on “lessons learned” from the coronavirus crisis, according to a job posting on an internal website that was reported by British news outlets. Britain is among the countries hardest hit by the pandemic, and many experts, lawmakers and health care professionals say the government’s handling of the situation is to blame.

Does it seem as if everyone’s got it better than you?

A beach house, a suburban home, a home without children, a home filled with family: These days, everyone wants something that someone else has. You are not alone if you are filled with “quarantine envy.” Here are some ways to deal with it.

Reporting was contributed by Ian Austen, Alan Blinder, Ben Casselman, Damien Cave, Emily Cochrane, Katie Glueck, Michael Gold, Jason Gutierrez, Jan Hoffman, Mike Ives, Thomas Kaplan, Niki Kitsantonis, Apoorva Mandavilli, Elian Peltier, Amy Qin, Rick Rojs,Christopher F. Schuetze, Eliza Shapiro, Mitch Smith, Deborah Solomon, Serena Solomon, Eileen Sullivan, Lauren Wolfe, Sameer Yasir and Elaine Yu.

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Besieged on all sides, Ron Johnson says his probe will help Trump win reelection

Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican, similarly said during another radio interview this week that the evidence his committee had uncovered was so “outrageous” that “it should completely disqualify Biden from president.”

The Biden campaign called the comments explicit proof of what Democrats have been claiming all along: That Johnson’s probe of corruption allegations against the intelligence community and Biden’s diplomatic efforts in Ukraine were thinly veiled efforts to weaponize the powerful Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee to damage the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.

“This damning acknowledgment totally exposes that Ron Johnson’s disgraceful conduct is the definition of malfeasance,” said Biden spokesman Andrew Bates. “It is beyond time for him to end this embarrassing and deeply unethical charade once and for all — as a number of his Senate Republican colleagues have long wanted.”

As Election Day approaches, Johnson has found himself besieged by the left and right, distrusted by some intelligence officials and facing allegations that his committee has partly relied on information obtained from a Ukrainian lawmaker that the U.S. intelligence community has now deemed a tool of a Russian election interference effort. (Johnson says he hasn’t received anything from the lawmaker, Andrii Derkach). Johnson, who claims he’s being targeted for destruction by Democrats and the press, also hinted in one Tuesday radio interview that he had some friction with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who he said had “sidelined” him at one point during his investigation.

Asked about Johnson’s comment, McConnell aides said it would be up to Johnson to elaborate. A source close to Johnson said McConnell’s decision to tap the Senate Intelligence Committee to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election – combined with the lengthy investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller — “made obtaining documents and information very difficult.” The source noted that McConnell had voiced general support for aiming subpoenas at former Obama administration officials.

In short, Johnson increasingly finds himself on an island while presiding over a politically loaded investigation less than 100 days before the election. The contours of his investigation are a bit blurry, overlapping with a similar probe into alleged intelligence committee abuses by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, even as Johnson vows to ramp it up and issue a full report on his findings in September.

Johnson’s probe examines allegations of corruption within the U.S. intelligence community during the transition of power from the Obama administration to President Donald Trump, as well as claims of abuses by intelligence community officials stemming from the FBI’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, known as Crossfire Hurricane.

Johnson has emphasized that his investigation’s overlap with Graham is another reason he hasn’t pursued certain lines of inquiry. Graham is pursuing allegations of abuses by the FBI in its investigation into the Trump campaign’s 2016 contacts with Russia. That overlap became particularly evident this week: Johnson subpoenaed the FBI on Monday, demanding all records related to Crossfire Hurricane and accusing Director Chris Wray of stonewalling his investigation.

Yet on Thursday, Graham issued a statement insisting that Wray “is committed to being helpful – in an appropriate manner – by balancing the needs of privacy for Bureau employees with public transparency for the benefit of the American people.” Graham made no mention of Johnson’s subpoena and noted that Wray had vowed to share information with his committee.

Trump has repeatedly encouraged investigations into Barack Obama, claiming without evidence that Obama committed grave crimes against his incoming administration. Trump dubbed the alleged scandal “Obamagate” but has offered no details to support allegations that Obama committed any wrongdoing.

Johnson is also pursuing widely discredited allegations that Biden engineered the removal of a Ukrainian prosecutor to shield his son Hunter from a corruption probe. At the time, Hunter was serving on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company, a conflict that several Obama-era officials said presented the appearance of a conflict of interest even if they saw no evidence of wrongdoing.

A series of State Department officials told Congress during impeachment proceedings against Trump that Ukraine’s top prosecutor at the time, Viktor Shokin, was an impediment to anti-corruption efforts and Biden’s push to remove him was part of the U.S. government and international community’s efforts to root out bad actors in Ukraine. Shokin’s ouster made it likelier — not less likely — that Burisma, would face a serious investigation, witnesses said.

The latest indications of pent-up anger on the right that Johnson’s probe hasn’t gone far enough came during a contentious radio interview Wednesday with the usually friendly conservative host Hugh Hewitt, who told Johnson he had “failed” in his investigation by declining to subpoena key Obama-era figures like FBI Director James Comey and CIA Director John Brennan. During an occasionally heated 10-minute exchange, Johnson attributed his pace to resistance from multiple Republicans on his committee, who he said could block him from issuing subpoenas.

But Johnson’s office later acknowledged this wasn’t the case — the committee’s Republicans already voted to empower Johnson to subpoena Brennan, Comey and others during a June business meeting. Rather, aides said Johnson had opted against issuing subpoenas because he wanted to exhaust efforts to obtain documents and seek voluntary cooperation from witnesses.

Aides to the Wisconsin Republican declined to discuss the status of those negotiations, but a source familiar with the probe indicated that Brennan has not been contacted by the committee about the prospect of voluntary testimony. The source close to Johnson, however, indicated that the panel is in talks with a “dozen or so” witnesses related to the Ukraine inquiry and that interviews are being scheduled.

“The committee is going through the process of building documents and a schedule for additional interviews in an organized manner,” the source said.

Johnson has faced pushback from within his own party. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) has criticized the probe as appearing overtly political, though he later relented and approved Johnson’s subpoena authority, saying he was given an assurance that witness interviews would be done behind closed doors to avoid a political spectacle.

Johnson took aim at his critics earlier this week with an 11-page letter, accusing unnamed Democrats and media outlets of trying to topple his probe with allegations of Russian disinformation, while really being guilty of disseminating it themselves.

“The very transparent goal of their own disinformation campaign and feigned concern is to attack our character in order to marginalize the eventual findings of our investigation,” Johnson wrote. “They are running the same play, out the same playbook they have been using for the last three and a half years.”

Asked about the attacks on his probe during a Tuesday radio interview with a conservative host in Wisconsin, Johnson put a finer point on it: “There’s a coordinated effort now to destroy me.”

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2020 Election Live Updates: Trump Admits Postal Service Needs Billions for Mail-In Voting

Credit…J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press

President Trump on Thursday conceded a key point congressional Democrats have been making during sputtering negotiations over a new coronavirus economic relief package: The U.S. Postal Service, a frequent target and foil for the president, needs a major infusion of cash to make mass mail-in balloting “work” in time for a presidential election held during a pandemic.

Mr. Trump, in an interview on the Fox Business Network, cited proposals by House Democrats to allocate $25 billion to the service and another $3 billion specifically to help it handle mail-in voting and said, “If you don’t get those two items, that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting.”

Mr. Trump — who has claimed without proof that widespread voting by mail would enable voter fraud and corrupt the 2020 election — would not say if he intended to drop his demand that the virus package exclude new Postal Service funding, a key hurdle to a deal.

But there did appear to be some movement toward breaking the impasse. Soon after Mr. Trump’s comments, the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, told reporters that senior Trump advisers had indicated a willingness to support new funding, though the conditions had yet to be worked out.

Democrats have been pushing hard to prop up a Postal Service hit by cutbacks and staffing slowdowns since Mr. Trump appointed a major campaign donor, Louis DeJoy, as postmaster general.

Mr. Trump’s opposition to expanding mail-in voting appears motivated at least in part by his conviction that it would help Democrats. In March, he said that making it easier for more people to vote would ensure “you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.

That position puts him at odds with Republican strategists, lawmakers and his own staff in states like Florida and North Carolina, who believe mail-in voting is needed to boost turnout in their own ranks. There is little evidence that widespread mail balloting advantages either party.

Democrats have called Mr. Trump’s reluctance to fund the Postal Service a cynical attempt at disenfranchisement.

“The president of the United States is sabotaging a basic service that hundreds of millions of people rely upon, cutting a critical lifeline for rural economies and for delivery of medicines, because he wants to deprive Americans of their fundamental right to vote safely during the most catastrophic public health crisis in over 100 years,” said Andrew Bates, a spokesman for Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Later, during a news conference with Mr. Biden, CNN’s Arlette Saenz asked, “President Trump today said that he opposes funding for the Postal Service, tying it to mail-in voting. What do you think about that?”

Mr. Biden responded, “Pure Trump. He doesn’t want an election.”

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Thursday let stand a Rhode Island judge’s order that makes it easier for voters in the state to vote by mail during the pandemic, dealing a defeat to Republican efforts to block the order.

The judge in Rhode Island had suspended a requirement that voters using mailed ballots fill them out in the presence of two witnesses or a notary.

In asking the Supreme Court to intervene, the Republican National Committee and Rhode Island’s Republican Party argued that the witness requirement imposed only a slight burden and was similar to one in Alabama that had survived a Supreme Court challenge.

But the Supreme Court, in explaining its refusal to stay the Rhode Island ruling, noted that unlike in Alabama, “no state official has expressed opposition” in Rhode Island to suspending the witness requirement. The Rhode Island judge had noted that Rhode Island’s last election was conducted without the witness requirement and wrote that instituting a change now could confuse voters.

Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Neil M. Gorsuch dissented from the order.

Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

President Trump, who has ignored or mischaracterized scientific data throughout the coronavirus pandemic, opened a White House press briefing on Thursday with a political attack on Joseph R. Biden Jr., calling his views “anti-scientific” and warning that the presumptive Democratic nominee’s ideas on the coronavirus would trigger an economic depression.

Responding to Mr. Biden’s earlier call for governors to institute mask-wearing mandate to control the spread of the virus, Mr. Trump suggested that the proposal threatened to overstep individual freedoms of Americans, and said Mr. Biden was more interested in keeping Americans “locked in their basements for months on end” over listening to medical experts.

“If the president has the unilateral power to order every single citizen to cover their face in nearly all instances, what other powers does he have?” Mr. Trump said. Later, speaking directly to Mr. Biden, he added, “To Joe I would say: Stop playing politics with the virus. Too serious.”

Mr. Trump, of course, has used his repeated press briefings on the coronavirus to attack his political opponents and warn of dire economic and health outcomes if a Democrat is elected, and Thursday was no exception. He then defended his administration’s own policy toward encouraging mask-wearing as patriotic, without totally supporting the wearing of masks.

“Maybe they’re great and maybe they’re just good. Maybe they’re not so good,” Mr. Trump said. “But, frankly, what do you have to lose?”

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Jared Kushner said Thursday during a press briefing that his recent meeting with Kanye West was “a general discussion” about policy and gave little further detail.

Earlier this week, The New York Times reported that Mr. Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, met last weekend with Mr. West, the rapper who will be on the ballot in some states as a presidential candidate in the 2020 election. Mr. West is being aided by allies and supporters of the president, in what many see as an effort to siphon votes from Joseph R. Biden Jr.

During a press briefing to discuss the Middle East, Mr. Kushner was asked about the meeting.

“Kanye’s been a friend of mine for, I’ve known him for about 10 years,” he said. “We talk every now and then about different things. We both happened to be in Colorado. So we got together and we had a great discussion about a lot of things. He has some great ideas for what he’d like to see happen in the country, and that’s why he has the candidacy that he’s been doing. But again, there’s a lot of issues the president’s championed that he admires, and it was just great to have a friendly discussion.”

He was later asked if the two men had discussed the 2020 campaign.

“We had a general discussion, more about policy,” he said.

Democrats are challenging signatures gathered on Mr. West’s behalf in states like Wisconsin, where lawyers supporting his candidacy are arguing that his name should be added to the ballot even though his nomination signatures were submitted 14 seconds after a 5 p.m. deadline.

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

President Trump and his allies have spent the months since Joseph R. Biden Jr. emerged as the presumptive Democratic nominee cycling through a variety of messages in hopes of denting the reputation of the former vice president.

They have called him soft on China and questioned his mental agility. They have tried to cast him as too tough on crime (at least in appeals to Black voters) and at the same time as anti-police. More recently, the Trump campaign has framed Mr. Biden, who ran throughout the Democratic primary as a moderate, as a captive of the “radical left.”

And on Thursday morning, the president, who twice mispronounced the word “fatality” during an appearance on Wednesday, questioned his opponent’s mental acuity.

“Joe doesn’t even know he is alive,” Mr. Trump said during a high-volume one-on-one with Maria Bartiromo of the Fox Business Network, a sympathetic interview that ended with each praising the other.

None of these slights have particularly stuck as Mr. Biden has maintained a steady lead in the polls.

The early stages of trying to define Kamala Harris, Mr. Biden’s vice-presidential pick, have been similarly scattered, while simultaneously infused with charged language specific to her role as the first woman of color to be part of a major party’s presidential ticket.

On Thursday, Mr. Trump continued to ridicule Ms. Harris, trying out another one of his derogatory nicknames on the California senator — a practice that some Republican officials worry will backfire among suburban women who will see such an attack as sexist.

“Now you have sort of a mad woman, I call her, because she was so angry and such hatred with Justice Kavanaugh,” he told Ms. Bartiromo. “I mean, I’ve never seen anything like it. She was the angriest of the group and they were all angry. They’re all radical left angry people.”

The Biden campaign, for its part, has focused on Mr. Trump’s handling of the simultaneous crises that have erupted in 2020: the coronavirus pandemic, the resulting economic downturn and the national protests after the killing of George Floyd in police custody.

On Wednesday, Ms. Harris simply stepped in as a new messenger. “There’s a reason it has hit America worse than any other advanced nation,” she said of the pandemic. “It’s because of Trump’s failure to take it seriously from the start.”

Those attacks may be potent: Fifty-seven percent of Americans say Mr. Trump is doing a bad job dealing with the virus, and 52 percent say the United States’ response is worse than other countries’, according to a Monmouth University poll released Thursday.

Credit…Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times

Joseph R. Biden Jr. called on governors to require mask wearing in their states on Thursday, saying that he believed that all Americans should wear face coverings to fight the spread of the coronavirus.

“Every single American should be wearing a mask when they’re outside for the next three months at a minimum,” Mr. Biden said.

The remarks came after Mr. Biden and Kamala Harris met with public health officials in Delaware for a briefing on the virus — yet another signal of their intention to make the pandemic a major part of their effort to unseat President Trump.

So far, more than 30 states have enacted mask requirements, following public health guidance that covering mouths and noses could reduce the spread of the virus. The mandates have been met with resistance from some, including a number of Republican leaders who see the rules as infringements on personal liberty.

Mr. Biden countered by saying that wearing a mask was a necessary civic duty.

“It’s not about your rights,” he said. “It’s about your responsibilities as an American.”

Ms. Harris, who on Wednesday criticized Mr. Trump’s management of the pandemic, supported Mr. Biden’s comments.

“That’s what real leadership looks like,” she said.

The two did not answer questions from reporters.

As Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris continued their focus on the pandemic, Vice President Mike Pence criticized the Democratic ticket during a series of appearances in Iowa.

At a town hall discussion on law enforcement put on by Heritage Action for America, a conservative group, Mr. Pence sought to paint Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris as anti-police and to stoke fears over public safety.

“The truth is you won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America,” Mr. Pence said.

Mr. Biden has supported redirecting some funding from the police to mental-health services or other reforms sought by activists. Ms. Harris, before she was Mr. Biden’s running mate, spoke about “reimagining” the role of law enforcement in America.

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

When Joseph R. Biden Jr. dialed up Kamala Harris on a videoconference call on Tuesday and asked her The Question — “You ready to go to work?” (to which she replied, “Oh my God, I am so ready”) — his choice as vice president was a well-kept secret but hardly a surprise.

Now that a Biden-Harris ticket is the Democratic reality, here are some takeaways from their debut as a ticket:

  • Harris’s early plaudits spanned the ideological spectrum. During her own primary bid, Ms. Harris oscillated between explicit appeals to the left (her pre-candidacy embrace of “Medicare for all”) and moves toward the middle (she promised a middle-class tax cut as her top priority). Plopped into the heat of the general election, her lack of ideological definition may prove an advantage. Her choice won plaudits from both the billionaire Michael R. Bloomberg and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont (who notably praised her on health care).

  • The Harris pick is spurring a wave of cash. By the end of Ms. Harris’s first full day on the campaign trail on Wednesday, the Biden campaign war chest had swelled, according to the campaign, by well over $34 million — and that is probably just the start. One official with the campaign said it had sold $1.2 million worth of yard signs since her announcement.

  • Harris will “prosecute the case” against Trump. Playing the attack dog is fairly standard fare for vice-presidential picks, and Ms. Harris is well suited to the role. A former prosecutor, she made some of her biggest splashes in her three-plus years in the Senate grilling Trump administration appointees. And she quickly adopted the language of a district attorney on the stump. “The case against Donald Trump and Mike Pence is open-and-shut,” she declared. “Just look where they’ve gotten us.”

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Attorney General William P. Barr has been a defiant defender of President Trump — to a fault, his critics say. But on Thursday, Mr. Trump floated the idea that Mr. Barr might not be doing enough.

In an interview on the Fox Business Network, Mr. Trump suggested that Mr. Barr and the F.B.I. director, Christopher Wray, needed to take more forceful roles in steering the supposedly impartial investigation into whether the Obama administration targeted Mr. Trump during the 2016 election toward the result the president wants.

“Bill Barr has a chance to be the greatest of all time, but if he wants to be politically correct, he’ll be just another guy, because he knows all the answers,” Mr. Trump said of Mr. Barr, who assigned John Durham, the U.S. attorney for Connecticut, to investigate the matter in May.

This is amply trampled ground: Mr. Trump drove out Jeff Sessions, his first attorney general, largely for being insufficiently zealous in investigating the F.B.I.’s probe of possible collusion between his campaign and Russia.

During his interview with Maria Bartiromo, Mr. Trump said that Mr. Barr “knows what they have, and it goes right to Obama, it goes right to Biden,” referring to his unproven charge that Democrats conspired with James Comey, then the F.B.I. director, in a coordinated effort to “spy” on him four years ago.

Mr. Trump suggested that Mr. Wray, whom he appointed to replace Mr. Comey, had been reluctant to hand over evidence to Mr. Barr because he was “very, very protective” of the F.B.I. bureaucracy.

“I wish he was more forthcoming — he certainly hasn’t been,” Mr. Trump said.

“There are documents they want to get,” he added, referring to investigators, “and that we have said we want to get. We’re going to find out if he’s going to give those documents.”

Mr. Trump concluded by saying, “Let’s see how Wray turns out. He’s going to either turn out one way or the other.”

Credit…Chris Keane/Reuters

Sarah Palin might not vote for Kamala Harris in November, but she has no qualms supporting her in August, at least on a personal level.

The former governor of Alaska, who was selected in 2008 to add dash and diversity to a Republican ticket headlined by a graying male senator, offered words of encouragement (and commiseration) for Ms. Harris as she endures a barrage of early attacks.

“I hope that they will treat her fairly,” said Ms. Palin, John McCain’s former running mate, during an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Thursday, speaking of a news media she viewed as uniformly hostile.

“But at the same time, no kid gloves,” she added.

In an Instagram post a day earlier, Ms. Palin, who went on to a career in reality television, offered Ms. Harris friendly but pointed advice culled from her less-than-idyllic experiences 12 years ago: Don’t forget the women who came before you (Ms. Palin, presumably, included); “trust no one new”; fight to keep “your own team”; and, above all, “don’t get muzzled” by the presidential candidate’s advisers.

“Congrats,” Ms. Palin wrote — before invoking the memory of a charismatic former congresswoman from Queens who became the first-ever woman on a major-party ticket in 1984.

“Climb upon Geraldine Ferraro’s and my shoulders, and from the most amazing view in your life consider lessons we learned,” she added. “Have fun!”

In offering her support for the candidate, if not her candidacy, Ms. Palin is also following the example set by Hillary Clinton, who refused to speak negatively about Ms. Palin when asked about her in 2008.

Credit…Travis Dove for The New York Times

Halliestine Zimmerman, a 71-year-old retired accountant in Mauldin, S.C., has cast a ballot in every election since she came of voting age, having watched her mother work to get more African-Americans to vote in the 1950s.

“We are just benefiting from that — from our mothers,” she said on Wednesday, the morning after Kamala Harris was chosen as the first woman of color to run on a national presidential ticket. “It is amazing what I have seen in my lifetime.”

For Ms. Zimmerman, there was joy in the moment, in being able to point to Ms. Harris as a role model, one whom her grandchildren could see themselves in.

“There was a time when nobody thought this was possible,” she said. “It was time for the Democrats to recognize who brought them to victory and who brings them to victory every time — it is Black women.”

“Finally,” she added, “they are letting us know they hear us.”

That sense of jubilant vindication is just what a group of activists and strategists imagined hearing when they began a campaign that they hoped would make it impossible for Mr. Biden to choose anyone but a Black woman as his running mate.

But the same activists who organized the push are steeling themselves for the kinds of attacks likely to be aimed at a Black woman on the presidential ticket.

“It is going to be a long road to the White House,” said Moya Bailey, a professor at Northeastern University who coined the term misogynoir, referring to the way Black women experience both sexism and racism. “I do think that the way our country has shown its disregard for Black women will definitely come up in the weeks and months ahead.”

Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s choice of Kamala Harris as his running mate affirmed what many progressives had feared: that any potential Biden administration would govern the same way the former vice president had spent most of his career — firmly rooted in Democratic establishment politics.

But rather than revolt, many progressive activists and elected officials stifled their criticisms and proclaimed their support, reiterating that removing Mr. Trump from office was their priority. Even those prone to denouncing Mr. Biden and other moderates largely tried to make peace.

Larry Cohen, the chairman of the Bernie Sanders-aligned group Our Revolution, described Ms. Harris as “extremely competent.”

The declarations of enthusiasm underscore how delicately progressives are approaching this moment, as they try to balance demands for change with the understanding that Democrats across the spectrum must unite behind Mr. Biden to defeat Mr. Trump. They are also negotiating another political reality: that Ms. Harris could be the party’s face of the future, and that crossing her now will have political consequences that did not exist at the week’s outset.

Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants union and a Sanders ally, said she was focusing on how Ms. Harris, as California attorney general, had helped secure a nationwide settlement with big banks.

“When I think about this moment that we’re in, and I think about the fact that she was one of the A.G.s to take on the banks during the financial crisis and to stand up for working people — I’m hanging on to that right now,” she said. “I can get excited about that.”

YouTube will not allow the posting of hacked material meant to interfere with the 2020 election or this year’s census, the company said Thursday.

Leslie Miller, a vice president of government affairs at YouTube, said the service would remove hacked information that “may interfere with democratic processes.” She offered the example of videos “that contain hacked information about a political candidate shared with the intent to interfere in an election” as something the platform would take down.

In 2016, hackers released emails from an account used by John D. Podesta, then the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. The emails spread online, helping to fuel conspiracy theories, and were widely covered by traditional media outlets. The hackers were linked to Russia, where American intelligence authorities say government officials executed a plan to interfere with the election.

YouTube, which is owned by Google, is not the only tech company to adopt a policy meant to stem the spread of hacked material. Twitter does not allow users to post hacked material or link to it in tweets. Facebook’s community standards forbid the posting, except in “limited cases of newsworthiness,” of “content claimed or confirmed to come from a hacked source, regardless of whether the affected person is a public figure or a private individual.”

All three tech companies are preparing for the possibility their services could be used for election interference in the coming months. On Wednesday, Facebook, Google and other companies said they were forming a group to promote collaboration with the government on securing the election.

Despite the platforms’ efforts at enforcement, they have often struggled to stem the tide of disinformation. Last week Facebook removed a video posted by Trump campaign in which the president claimed children were immune to the coronavirus, but only after it had been viewed nearly half a million times. And hackers seeking to influence the election could post information elsewhere, such as on their own websites.

Credit…Brittany Greeson for The New York Times

CENTER OF THE WORLD, Ohio — As he stood outside a Dollar General store, loading groceries into his pickup, Dennis Kuchta pondered what it would mean not to have an Ohio State football season this fall because of the coronavirus.

“It’s a huge loss, and I don’t think people realize that yet,” he said.

With a pillar of autumn Saturdays missing, Mr. Kuchta and others in this football-mad northeastern corner of the state lookied for someone to blame.

“Trump just blew it,” Mr. Kuchta said. “He just didn’t handle it. He could have shut things down for five or six weeks and figured out what he was doing, but he never had a plan.”

That points to a potential problem for Mr. Trump, whose re-election efforts may well hinge on an earlier-than-expected return to normalcy across America.

In battleground states like Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania, where college football serves as an autumn religion, the Big Ten’s decision to postpone its season may be a political stain that the president is unable to blame on Democrats or the media.

“As great as politics is — it’s a sport that so many people enjoy watching — it’s not as important as college football in Ohio, in Georgia, in Alabama,” said Paul Finebaum, who hosts a syndicated college football radio show for ESPN. “Without it, people will be lost and people will be angry.”

Mr. Finebaum predicted that the loss of the season would damage Mr. Trump even among his most faithful supporters.

“We don’t have a day that doesn’t pass where someone doesn’t call up and blame the president,” he said. “Even from the South, I’ve heard more anger directed at the president than I thought.”

President Trump has complained before about the sorry state of the national water pressure. Now he is transforming grievance to governance, trying to roll back a regulation limiting flow through American-made shower heads.

Mr. Trump often eschews written briefing materials and ignores even basic policy matters, according to former administration officials. But he has often focused on minutiae pertaining to matters of personal importance, peeves emanating from his days as a developer and landlord. Low water pressure, often an issue in Manhattan high-rises, is one of them.

“So shower heads — you take a shower, the water doesn’t come out,” Mr. Trump said at a an event touting his business-friendly policies in July. “You want to wash your hands, the water doesn’t come out. So what do you do? You just stand there longer or you take a shower longer? Because my hair — I don’t know about you, but it has to be perfect. Perfect.”

A federal law enacted in 1992 mandates that new shower heads not be allowed to spritz more than 2.5 gallons of water per minute. The Obama administration, target of so many Trump-era anti-regulatory assaults, dictated that the 2.5-gallon cap be applied to the aggregated outpouring of all nozzles in modern-day multihead shower fixtures.

Mr. Trump’s Energy Department proposed a new rule on Wednesday that would allow each nozzle to pump out 2.5 gallons, with no restrictions on the total.

Environmental advocates say the plan is no trivial matter: It could lead to waste of water at a time when large sections of the country are grappling with multiyear droughts.

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Watch Live: Pres. Trump holds Thursday briefing

WASHINGTON (AP) — Pres. Trump will hold a White House briefing Thursday evening.

The briefing is scheduled to start around 5:30 p.m. Eastern and can be streamed live right here.

With talks on emergency coronavirus aid having stalled out, both sides played the blame game Thursday rather than make any serious moves to try to break their stalemate. Official Washington is emptying, national politics is consuming the airwaves and the chasm between the warring sides appears too great for now.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pressed the case for funding for the U.S. Postal Service, rental assistance, food aid and rapid testing for the virus at her weekly press event, blasting Republicans as not giving a damn and declaring flatly that “people will die” if the delay grinds into September.

“Perhaps you mistook them for somebody who gave a damn,” Pelosi said when asked if she should accept a smaller COVID-19 rescue package rather than endure weeks of possible gridlock. “That isn’t the case.”

All of the chief combatants have exited Washington after a several-day display of staying put as to not get blamed for abandoning the talks. The political risk for President Donald Trump is continued pain in U.S. households and a struggling economy — both of which promise to hurt him in the September campaign. For Democrats, there is genuine disappointment at being unable to deliver a deal but apparent comfort in holding firm for a sweeping measure instead of the few pieces that Trump wants most.

A modest Trump administration overture on Wednesday generated nothing but stepped-up carping and accusations of bad faith.

“It’s a stalemate,” White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Thursday.

Across a nearly empty Capitol, the Senate’s top Republican sought to cast the blame on Pelosi, whose ambitious demands have frustrated administration negotiators like White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

“They are still rejecting any more relief for anyone unless they get a flood of demands with no real relationship to COVID-19,” said Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. McConnell has kept the talks at arm’s length, nursing deep divisions among Republicans on the topic — and assorted pieces — of the foundering relief measure.

Among the items lost is perhaps $10 billion in emergency funding for the Postal Service to help improve service as its role in the fall election takes on greater importance, given an expected surge in mail voting because of the coronavirus pandemic. Trump is against $3.4 billion demanded by Pelosi for helping states with the crush of mail-in ballots.

Trump seemed to take advantage of the stalemate to press his case against voting by mail. He said Thursday on Fox Business Network’s “Mornings with Maria” that among the sticking points were Democrats’ demand for billions of dollars to assist states in protecting the election and to help postal workers process mail-in ballots.

“They need that money in order to have the post office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots,” Trump said. “If they don’t get those two items, that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting because they’re not equipped to have it.”

The White House and congressional leaders are far apart on the size, scope and approach of aid for shoring up households, reopening schools and launching a national strategy to contain the virus, which has infected more than 5.2 million people in the United States and has killed at least 166,000, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Trump’s top negotiator, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, tried to revive stalled talks Wednesday, but Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer dismissed the overture, saying the Trump administration was still refusing to meet them halfway. Congressional Republicans are largely sitting out the talks.

With the House and Senate essentially closed, and lawmakers on call to return with 24 hours’ notice, hopes for a swift compromise have dwindled. Instead, the politics of blame have taken hold, as the parties focus on this month’s presidential nominating conventions and lawmakers’ own reelection campaigns.

All indications are talks will not resume in full until Congress resumes in September, despite the mounting coronavirus death toll.

For Americans, that means the end of a $600 weekly unemployment benefit that has expired, as has a federal ban on evictions. Schools hoping for cash from the federal government to help provide safety measures are left empty-handed. States and cities staring down red ink with the shattered economy have few options.

Trump’s executive actions appeared to provide a temporary reprieve, offering $300 in jobless benefits and some other aid. But it could take weeks for those programs to ramp up, and the help is far slimmer than what Congress was considering. More than 20 million Americans risk evictions, and more are out of work.

The Democrats said they are waiting for the White House to put a new offer on the table: “We have again made clear to the Administration that we are willing to resume negotiations once they start to take this process seriously,” they said in a statement.

But Mnuchin shot back with his own statement, saying, “The Democrats have no interest in negotiating.”

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Here’s Where Polls Put Kamala Harris After Biden Picked Her as His VP

Results from three surveys conducted this week show California Senator Kamala Harris polling differently among voters after the Biden campaign chose her as the presumptive Democratic vice presidential nominee.

Polls conducted this week by Insider, Ipsos and Politico asked voters how they felt about Harris after Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, officially announced the pick Tuesday.

Participants in an Insider poll, which collected 1,106 responses between August 11 and 12, were asked: “Joe Biden has selected Sen. Kamala Harris of California as his running mate. How do you feel about this decision?”

Biden’s supporters were the most satisfied with the choice, with around 64 percent of his supporters answering they were “somewhat” or “very” satisfied with Harris as the nominee. Among respondents who hadn’t yet decided between voting for Biden or President Donald Trump, 25 percent expressed satisfaction with Harris.

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And 39 percent of voters overall said they were satisfied with Biden’s choice, a number slightly lower than those found in other polls.

A flash poll conducted Wednesday by Morning Consult/Politico found that a majority of voters, 53 percent, approved of Harris as the pick for vice president. The number soared among Democratic voters, with 84 percent saying they approved of Harris. A solid number of independent voters, 44 percent, also said they liked Biden’s choice, according to the poll.

An ABC News/Ipsos poll released Thursday found that nearly half of the registered voters, 47 percent, polled August 11 and 12 rated Biden’s choice for vice president as either excellent or good.

Harris received a net favorability rating of positive four, the highest compared with Biden, Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. Trump had the lowest favorability rating at negative 23, as 58 percent of registered voters said they had an unfavorable opinion of him.

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Kamala Harris
Sen. Kamala Harris, running mate of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, attends a coronavirus briefing at a makeshift studio at the Hotel DuPont on August 13, in Wilmington, Delaware. American voters in three recent election polls approved of Harris as the presumptive Democratic vice presidential nominee.
Drew Angerer/Getty

The polls released this week suggest how American voters currently feel about Harris, who made history as the first Black and South Asian American woman selected as the vice presidential nominee of a major party.

The Ipsos survey found that voters felt more positive toward Harris than they do Pence, with Harris being generally viewed in a “slightly positive light” compared to Pence, who was viewed in a generally “negative” light.

The survey also asked voters about a series of positive attributes and whether the two vice presidential candidates represented them. Respondents generally saw Harris as being “more inspiring, honest, and caring” than Pence. While 43 percent of voters said “inspiring” describes Harris well, 30 percent of the voters answered they would describe Pence that way.

Pence said during an appearance on Hannity Wednesday night that he couldn’t wait to debate Harris in Salt Lake City in October, accusing her of embracing the “agenda of the radical left” throughout her political career.

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COVID-19 in Illinois updates: Here’s what’s happening Thursday

Illinois public health officials Thursday announced 1,834 new known cases of COVID-19 and 24 additional confirmed deaths. The state has now logged 200,427 cases overall and 7,696 confirmed deaths.

According to a new federal report, at least 24 children in Illinois have come down with a rare but severe illness linked to COVID-19, placing Illinois among the top seven states in the country for the number of cases.

Illinois, Pennsylvania, Louisiana and California each had between 21 and 30 cases from March to July, according to an article released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts had more than 31 incidences each.

The illness — called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) — can generally appear two to four weeks after the onset of COVID-19 in a child or adolescent.

On Wednesday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker again warned that the state might reimpose stricter measures to slow the spread of the highly contagious disease as trends continue to move in the wrong direction. He urged local officials to “impose greater mitigations on a targeted basis to bring down the number of infections or the positivity rate.”

“Otherwise, it will only be a matter of time before the state will be forced to step in and roll things back on a regional basis, something none of us wants,” Pritzker said.

Here’s what’s happening Thursday with COVID-19 in the Chicago area and Illinois:

1:46 p.m.: Two restaurant employee relief funds offering Chicagoans millions of dollars in aid

Against the backdrop of the economic blow dealt to the restaurant industry by COVID-19, and predictions of more closings to come, two new funds were announced Thursday to help employees. The Illinois Restaurant Association and Southern Smoke have established emergency assistance funds that aim to directly help restaurant industry workers.

The Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation Restaurant Employee Relief Fund was created through donations from Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, Telemundo, Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois, EMPLOYERS (a small business insurance specialist), personal donations, corporate partnerships and proceeds from Chicago Gourmet’s upcoming “Go Gourmet” Dining and Virtual Event Series. Anyone can contribute and IRAEF is taking donations now.Applications go live in October.

“This fund expands upon the IRAEF’s efforts to ensure the future of our restaurant community statewide,” said Sam Toia, president and CEO of the Illinois Restaurant Association, in a press release. “While the development of aspiring industry professionals remains the IRAEF’S core mission, it is urgent that we do all we can to secure the stability of our current workforce to ensure opportunities for those to follow.”

1:24 p.m.: Say goodbye to the giant green frog. Chicago’s Rainforest Cafe is closing for good ahead of schedule.

he giant green frog peering down at traffic from the top of Chicago’s Rainforest Cafe may not have much more time on his perch.

The kid-friendly restaurant in the Near North neighborhood closed sooner than expected after it shut down during the coronavirus pandemic.

12:49 p.m.: Illinois congressman calls for federal ban on electronic cigarettes, citing study that shows link to COVID-19

Citing a study showing a correlation between vaping and COVID-19, an Illinois congressman is calling for a federal ban on all e-cigarettes — though a vaping industry advocate called it a publicity stunt.

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, a Democrat from Schaumburg and chairman of the House Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, wrote a letter to the Food and Drug Administration this week calling for the agency to “clear the market of all e-cigarettes, temporarily, for the duration of the coronavirus crisis.”

The letter repeated a request the representative made on April 1 after preliminary studies made similar findings.

But Krishnamoorthi said the case for a ban is stronger following a study that found that young people ages 13-24 who had ever used e-cigarettes were five times more likely to develop COVID-19.

12:05 p.m.: Illinois reaches more than 200,000 known cases of COVID-19

Illinois public health officials Thursday announced 1,834 new known cases of COVID-19 and 24 additional confirmed deaths. The state has now logged 200,427 cases overall and 7,696 confirmed deaths.

12:02 p.m.: Illinois among top seven states for rare childhood syndrome linked to COVID-19

At least 24 children in Illinois have come down with a rare but severe illness linked to COVID-19, placing Illinois among the top seven states in the country for the number of cases, according to a new federal report.

Illinois, Pennsylvania, Louisiana and California each had between 21 and 30 cases from March to July, according to an article released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts had more than 31 incidences each.

The illness — called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) — can generally appear two to four weeks after the onset of COVID-19 in a child or adolescent. Symptoms can include a rash, fever, red eyes, swollen hands and feet, vomiting and abdominal pain. It’s an inflammatory illness, meaning the body’s immune system revs up and begins to attack healthy tissue.

10:34 a.m.: From cabdrivers to concession cashiers, workers supported by Chicago’s airports wonder when — or if — they’ll go back.

The taxi industry was already having a tough time competing with ride-share companies like Uber and Lyft. The COVID-19 pandemic brought a whole new level of pain.

In normal times, Chicago’s airports are reliable, year-round economic engines for the city. More than 105 million passengers traveled through O’Hare International Airport and Midway Airport last year, and the city is pumping $8.5 billion into an expansion project at O’Hare that will help it attract even more.

Those millions of travelers bring more than tourism dollars and business for airlines. They support an entire network of businesses around Chicago’s airports, from catering companies that prepare in-flight meals to airport shops and restaurants where passengers kill time before boarding to airport hotels and car rental agencies.

As a rise in COVID-19 cases nationwide stalls signs of growth, companies and workers alike are realizing what many assumed would be short-term pain isn’t going away anytime soon.

10:14 a.m.: ‘Band and choir — there’s inherently aerosol spread with that.’ Educators try to create meaningful, in-person arts education during COVID-19.

In the band room, students emptied spit valves, some played shared instruments and others worked closely in small practice rooms. During choir rehearsal, dozens engaged in breathing exercises together. And onstage, theater students projected their voices and sang at the top of their lungs. What arts education looked like just months ago seems unfathomable in the age of COVID-19.

While many arts education programs will be online for at least a portion of this school year, some schools are grappling with how to safely provide in-person arts education during a pandemic.

10:13 a.m.: Here’s what to know about kids and COVID-19 as some return to school

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently reported that nearly 180,000 children tested positive for COVID-19 in the last month, a 90% increase in a four-week period in child cases nationwide.

Of those child cases, 97,000 were reported in the latter half of July, a nationwide increase of 40% in two weeks coinciding with the reopening of schools in certain parts of the South and Midwest.

As parents prepare their children for the new school year, here’s what we know about kids and the coronavirus: contraction, transmission, symptoms and how Illinois compares to the stark nationwide trend.

9:09 a.m.: Trump says funds for US Postal Service to deal with mail ballots is sticking point in coronavirus aid negotiations

Americans counting on emergency coronavirus aid from Washington may have to wait until fall.

Negotiations over a new virus relief package have all but ended, with the White House and congressional leaders far apart on the size, scope and approach for shoring up households, re-opening schools and launching a national strategy to contain the virus.

President Donald Trump’s top negotiator, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, tried to revive stalled talks Wednesday, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer dismissed the “overture,” saying the Trump administration is still refusing to meet them halfway. Congressional Republicans are largely sitting out the talks.

“The White House is not budging,” Pelosi and Schumer said in a joint statement.

9:06 a.m.: Parents are turning on each other as schools debate reopening plans for fall during coronavirus pandemic

It’s the newest front in America’s parenting wars.

Parents, forced to figure out how to care for and educate their children in a pandemic, are being judged and criticized on message boards and in backyard meetups and virtual PTA meetings. If parents send their children to schools that reopen, are they endangering them and their teachers? If they keep them home, are they pulling support from schools and depriving their children? If they keep working while schools are closed, are they neglecting their children in a time of need? If they hire someone to help with remote school, are they widening achievement gaps and contributing to inequality?

But the shaming, scholars say, is distracting from the larger societal issues underlying the problem. Parents have been left stranded with very little in the way of support.

8:53 a.m.: Three reasons stocks are soaring despite the coronavirus’ economic toll

The stock market is not the economy.

Rarely has that adage been as clear as it is now. An amazing, monthslong rally means the S&P 500 is roughly back to where it was before the coronavirus slammed the U.S, even though millions of workers are still getting unemployment benefits and businesses continue to shutter across the country.

The S&P 500, which is the benchmark index for stock funds at the heart of many 401(k) accounts, ended Wednesday at 3,380.35 after briefly topping its closing record of 3,386.15 set on Feb. 19. It’s erased nearly all of the 34% plunge from February into March in less time than it takes a baby to learn how to crawl.

The U.S. and global economies have shown some improvements since the spring, when business lockdowns were widespread, but they are nowhere close to fully healed. The number of virus cases continues to rise across much of the United States, and federal and local politicians for the most part lack a strategy to contain it. Many industries, such as airlines, hotels and dining, could take years to recover from the damage.

8:28 a.m.: New US jobless claims fall below 1 million for first time in 5 months

The number of laid-off workers applying for unemployment aid fell below 1 million last week for the first time since the pandemic intensified five months ago yet still remains at a high level. The viral pandemic keeps forcing layoffs just as the expiration of a $600-a-week federal jobless benefit has deepened the hardships for many.

The Labor Department said applications fell to 963,000, the second straight drop, from 1.2 million the previous week. The decline suggests that layoffs are slowing, though last week’s figure still exceeds the pre-pandemic record of just under 700,000.

6 a.m.: Want to vote by mail in Illinois? Here’s how.

Election Day is scheduled for Nov. 3, but many Illinois residents have already requested mail-in ballots, an option state officials encourage for all registered voters this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

By mid-July, Chicago election officials had received a record-high 121,000 applications for mail-in ballots, and that was before the effects of a new state law kick in that will see every Illinois resident who voted in recent elections automatically getting an application to vote by mail.

6 a.m.: ‘Nine times out of 10, I was completely brushed off’: Black Chicagoans confront bias in health care, hope for change

Many Black Chicagoans have had negative experiences when seeking medical care: times a doctor didn’t believe them, dismissed their concerns or didn’t fully explain their options.

Sometimes racial prejudices are obvious. But even well-meaning medical providers can act differently toward Black patients because of a phenomenon known as implicit bias, which is bias that can surface automatically and, often, unconsciously when encountering a person of another race, gender or group.

When it occurs in medicine, it can have devastating consequences for patients, and may be one factor leading to worse health outcomes for Black people, such as higher rates of deaths from COVID-19, experts say.

Those higher death rates, along with the recent death of George Floyd in Minnesota and the unrest that followed, have spurred many organizations to act. In the Chicago area, three dozen health systems — including all the city’s biggest hospitals — recently announced plans to ramp up their efforts to fight racism, including by focusing on anti-racism and implicit bias training for doctors, nurses and other employees. The effort is part of the city’s Racial Equity Rapid Response Team.

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Here are five stories from Wednesday related to COVID-19.

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Trump goes after FBI director Wray, whom he appointed, and issues warning to Barr

During a discussion about the Justice Department’s probe into the Russia investigation, Fox Business anchor Maria Bartiromo asked the President whether FBI director Christopher Wray should step down.

“We know that the FBI lied to the Senate in February of 2018. Christopher Wray was running the FBI. Mr. President, is Christopher Wray hiding all of this stuff and protecting the FBI? Should he step down?” Bartiromo asked.

Bartiromo appeared to be referring to Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham’s claims that a declassified document he released Sunday shows that the FBI had misled the Senate Intelligence Committee in February 2018 about a “primary sub -source” of information in the infamous Steele dossier. The opposition research dossier, compiled by ex-British intelligence agent Christopher Steele on Trump and Russia in 2016, played no role in the opening of the FBI investigation, according to an inspector general report.
Trump railed against Wray, who he said should provide more documents to John Durham, who was tapped by Barr to lead the review into the origins of the Russia investigation.

“So Christopher Wray was put there. We have an election coming up. I wish he was more forthcoming, he certainly hasn’t been. There are documents that they want to get, and we have said we want to get. We’re going to find out if he’s going to give those documents. But certainly he’s been very, very protective,” the President said on Fox Business.

CNN has reached out to the FBI and the Justice Department.

Trump told Fox Business that Wray “was put there for a good reason, he was chosen by a certain person, and I said, go ahead, put whoever you want. I’m so honest that I said you could put anybody you want. Let’s see how Wray turns out. He’s either going to turn out one way or the other.”

He continued, “Bill Barr has a chance to be the greatest of all time. But if he wants to be politically correct, he’ll be just another guy.”

Barr said in an interview aired on Wednesday that he is aiming to release some conclusions from Durham’s investigation ahead of the November election, putting a finer point on a timeline that has shifted in recent weeks and also opening up the possibility that the review could extend into the winter.

“We’re all aware of the calendar and we’re not going to do anything for the purposes of affecting an election, but we are trying to get some things accomplished before the election,” Barr told conservative commentator Buck Sexton.

Trump has previously blamed Wray’s hiring on former deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. But the President was the one to nominate Wray to lead the bureau in 2017, after firing James Comey. Comey had accused Trump of asking him to pledge his loyalty, which Trump has denied.

Trump has been unhappy with Wray for a variety of perceived faults, mostly related to conservative complaints that the FBI has not cooperated with efforts to review the 2016-2017 Russia investigation.

Fox News hosts and conservative media have attacked Wray over the issue, even though there’s no evidence the FBI and Wray have been uncooperative.

The FBI has said that under Wray, the bureau has cooperated with multiple investigations into the FBI’s handling of the Russia probe. Wray has assigned agents to some of Barr’s efforts to reinvestigate aspects of the Russia probe.

Barr has also come to Wray’s defense, saying that the FBI director has cooperated with multiple examinations Barr has ordered into the FBI’s handling of sensitive matters.

The President has long sought to discredit the Russia probe and special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings, doubting whether the FBI even had reason to open a full investigation into his campaign. He lashed out at Wray last year after the FBI backed an inspector general report that found the investigation into Russian election interference was properly launched.

CNN’s Veronica Stracqualursi and David Shortell contributed to this report.