The United States is about to reach a heartbreaking milestone: Nearly 200,000 people have died from the coronavirus.

They were young and old, living in big cities and tiny towns. They spent their days as nursing home attendants, teachers, farm laborers and retirees. About 800 people are joining them every day.

As each additional person is added to the country’s death toll, their loved ones are left behind in a reality that is complicated and cruel — a suspended state of torment. One common refrain: There is no way to turn the world off. The pandemic dominates social media, newspapers, radio and television.

“Yesterday was the first time I watched the news in five months,” said Denise Chandler, a mother of eight in Detroit who lost both her father and her husband to the virus this summer. “Everywhere you turn, it’s Covid this, Covid that. I’m just tired of hearing about Covid.”

Another widow said that when she heard talk about a vaccine, she could only think of one thing: Whenever it comes will be too late for my husband. Some people are plagued by guilt for not being at their loved ones’ bedsides in their final moments, even though hospital regulations kept them out. They recoil in pain when acquaintances suggest that their relatives were somehow to blame for being infected.

Ms. Chandler has had little time to mourn as she raises her children, but last month she took them to a nearby public memorial where photographs and names of the city’s dead were arranged in alphabetical order.

“Immediately upon entering, you see the first person that starts in ‘A,’ and you see how long the line is,” Ms. Chandler said. “Tears immediately started coming down my face. It took my breath away just to see all of the families that were affected by this virus.”


After much of Western Europe tamped down the virus in the spring with strict lockdowns, cases and deaths are ticking up again. Spain, already one of the hardest-hit European countries, has had one of the largest resurgences. Cases have risen to more than 10,000 a day on average over the last week, topping its tally earlier this year.

Nightlife and group activities, which resumed more quickly than in neighboring countries, have been blamed in part for Spain’s second wave. A rise in large family gatherings, the return of tourism and a lack of adequate housing and health care for migrants are among the other suspected contributing factors.

The current outbreak is concentrated in the capital, Madrid, where virus-related hospitalizations have tripled. New targeted restrictions began today, prompting protests over the weekend. Nearly a million residents cannot leave their neighborhoods except for essential activities.

The rise in cases has also renewed tensions. A performance yesterday at Spain’s royal opera house was cut short after spectators shouted and clapped for more than an hour in protest of what they said was insufficient social distancing.

Spain’s second wave has not yet proved to be as dire as the first. The median age of infected people has dropped, and the death rate is lower than earlier this year. Asymptomatic cases account for more than half of positive results, which is partly a result of increased testing, and hospitals are better prepared with more equipment and protocols.

A novel approach: La Liga, Spain’s top professional soccer league, is enlisting fans who have recovered from Covid-19 and even players’ children to make sure teams follow virus protocols.


Here’s a roundup of restrictions in all 50 states.



My husband and I wanted to eliminate the pests from our yard without harming bees, so we got a small flock of guinea fowl and have learned how to take care of them. We have spent a great deal of time building a house to protect them from the predators. There has been a fun side benefit to them as they are so entertaining we get a laugh every day.

— Martha Sneary, Canyon Lake, Texas.

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