Covid-19 Live Updates: Unclear If Trump Might Leave Hospital as Doctors Expected to Provide Update
With experts saying that the president’s treatment suggests his condition may be severe, the number of new daily cases reported across the United States is slowly rising.
Here’s what you need to know:
- Covid-19 continues its onslaught in the U.S.
- Fauci calls Trump’s doctor ‘very qualified,’ despite confusion in briefings.
- On Capitol Hill, the prospects for a stimulus deal before the election remain murky.
- Paris will close its bars and many cafes for at least two weeks starting on Tuesday.
- Israel’s second coronavirus lockdown is fraying nerves, amid protests, confusion and violence.
- Trump says he’s ‘learned a lot.’ But have Americans?
- Clorox wipes are still the hard-to-find pandemic item.
The White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, says she tested positive. Trump’s doctor is expected to update the public soon.
President Trump’s press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, said on Monday that she tested positive for the virus, becoming the latest among the president’s inner circle to be confirmed to have it, as Mr. Trump’s doctors consider whether to release him from the hospital on Monday.
The president’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, described on Monday the president’s “unbelievable progress” in his fight against the coronavirus. The rosy description of his condition has been questioned, as the treatments he is undergoing are typically used on people with severe cases of Covid-19.
Ms. McEnany said on Twitter that she was not experiencing any symptoms, and that she had been tested everyday since Thursday. It is not known when Ms. McEnany was first exposed, but it can take up to 14 days from exposure to the virus for someone to test positive. She was seen Sunday speaking to reporters without wearing a mask.
Mr. Trump has been eager to leave Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and had pushed to be discharged earlier on Sunday, according to people familiar with the events. Driven in part by boredom and feeling trapped, Mr. Trump is also motivated to leave out of a desire to show the country and the world that he is functional and not bedridden by a virus, according to the people familiar with the events.
But Mr. Trump’s doctors on Sunday did not favor him leaving the hospital to return to the White House. Instead, a decision was made to allow Mr. Trump to be driven slowly by crowds of supporters across the street from the hospital so he could be seen.
Health experts have said the decision was highly unusual for a patient with an infectious illness who is being treated with a therapeutic drug that is administered intravenously.
Still, Mr. Trump has been attuned to the news coverage of his illness and angered at the speculation he may be sicker than officials are saying.
In an interview with “Fox & Friends” on Monday morning, Mr. Meadows, said a decision had not been made yet about whether Mr. Trump could be discharged on Monday.
“The doctors will actually have an evaluation sometime late morning,” Mr. Meadows said. “And then the president, in consultation with the doctors, will make a decision on whether to discharge him later today.”
Mr. Trump’s medical team is expected to update reporters Monday.
Based on his doctors’ accounts on Sunday, Mr. Trump’s symptoms appear to have rapidly progressed since he announced early Friday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus.
Mr. Trump had a “high fever” on Friday, and his blood oxygen levels dropped on two occasions, his doctors said, including to a level that can indicate that a patient’s lungs are compromised, a symptom seen in many patients with severe Covid-19.
His doctors on Saturday said he is also undergoing a five-day antiviral treatment regimen for Covid-19, another indication that his condition is more serious than what has been conveyed to the public.
The president’s medical team also said that he had been prescribed dexamethasone, a steroid used to head off an immune system overreaction that kills many Covid-19 patients. This is also generally reserved for those with severe illness.
Mr. Trump and several others who tested positive for the virus last week attended a White House event on Sept. 26, which experts believe could have been the source of the outbreak. Vice President Mike Pence, who was at the event and has since tested negative for the virus multiple times, continues to campaign across the country while Mr. Trump is ill. It is possible to test negative and still be infected early in the course of the virus.
The Latest on the President’s HealthA weekend of conflicting information suggests that President Trump’s condition might have been more serious than first acknowledged.Oct. 5, 2020
Tracking the Coronavirus ›
United States ›On Oct. 414-day changeTrendNew cases34,491+6%New deaths332–8%
Where cases are highest per capita
hot spots ›College cases ›
— Maggie Haberman and Eileen Sullivan
Covid-19 continues its onslaught in the U.S.
As President Trump and some of his associates test positive for the coronavirus, the number of new cases reported each day across the United States has been slowly rising.
The country is at a key moment in the pandemic, and spread of the virus could worsen significantly through the autumn, experts fear, as colder weather forces people indoors. Every day, some 43,000 new cases are being reported — far fewer than during the surge in the summer, but still an uncomfortably large number.
Some of the country’s least populous states are now seeing their highest infection rates.
When coastal cities suffered in the spring, cases remained relatively scarce across most of the nation’s midsection. But since late summer, North Dakota and South Dakota have added more cases per capita than any other state.
Utah recorded 1,387 new cases on Sunday, a single-day record. Four states — Wisconsin, Indiana, Montana and Wyoming — have added more cases in the last week than in any other seven-day stretch of the pandemic.
One significant change from the spring and early summer has been the return of college students to campuses.
The New York Times has identified more than 130,000 cases at more than 1,300 American colleges since the pandemic began.
Some of the worst trouble spots have calmed. Florida is now averaging about 2,300 new cases a day, roughly one-fifth of what it was seeing at its worst. In Arizona, daily case reports have dropped to about 500 on average, down from more than 3,600.
New infections have also plunged in Georgia, Louisiana and South Carolina. Mississippi and Alabama have made significant progress since midsummer as well, though case numbers there remain high.
California and Texas have also seen drops in case numbers. Both states, however, have recorded more than 800,000 cases.
“I’m actually disturbed and concerned about the fact that our baseline of infections is still stuck at around 40,000 per day,” Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the country’s leading expert on infectious disease, said Monday on CNN. “That’s no place to be when you’re trying to get your arms around an epidemic and get it to a very low baseline as you get into a situation where you’re going to be indoors more than outdoors.”
Tracking the Coronavirus ›
United States › On Oct. 4 14-day change Trend
New cases 34,491 +6%
New deaths 332 –8%
Where cases are highest per capita
Fauci calls Trump’s doctor ‘very qualified,’ despite confusion in briefings.
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert and to many a trusted voice throughout the pandemic, said he has confidence in the doctor overseeing President Trump’s care, Dr. Sean P. Conley, a Navy commander and doctor of osteopathy who has been the White House physician since 2018.
“Personally, I have not been involved in the direct care of the president,” Dr. Fauci said Monday on CNN, a fact that has come as a surprise to many in medicine. “But I might comment that my colleagues that I know, including Sean Conley, are very good physicians and they’re very qualified, so I am really confident that the president of the United States is getting the optimal care that you can get with the team over at Walter Reed.”
Americans have been looking to Dr. Conley who, over a busy weekend of medical briefings, has at times delivered confusion and obfuscation about the president’s condition. Dr. Conley even confessed that he had misled the public on Saturday about Mr. Trump’s treatment to reflect the “upbeat attitude” of the White House.
On Saturday, he ducked questions about whether Mr. Trump had been on oxygen, then revealed on Sunday that indeed, the president had been on oxygen — an indicator that Mr. Trump’s illness may be classified as “severe.” On Sunday, Dr. Conley was similarly evasive, sidestepping questions about whether the president’s X-rays revealed any lung damage or pneumonia. “I’m not going to get into specifics of his care,” he said.
Caring for any president presents unique challenges. Like all doctors, Dr. Conley is bound by oath to respect his patient’s wishes for privacy and to keep secret that which “ought not to be spoken of outside.” He is also a Navy officer caring for the commander in chief, whose orders he is obliged to follow.
But all of that must be balanced against the public’s right to have information about the health of one of the world’s most powerful leaders. And this particular leader, Mr. Trump, is well known for not wanting to look weak.
Dr. Conley is supervising a team of medical experts at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, including Dr. Sean Dooley, a pulmonologist, as well as an outside expert, Dr. Brian Garibaldi, the director of the biocontainment unit at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.
No matter what Dr. Conley says or does not say, his colleagues in medicine agree on one thing: If he is going to put himself in the position of answering questions about the president’s care, he has to answer truthfully and to the fullest extent possible.
“You can’t both wear the white coat and lie, evade, obfuscate the situation,” said Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, a bioethicist at the University of Pennsylvania, “because you are using the white coat to give yourself credibility.”
On Capitol Hill, the prospects for a stimulus deal before the election remain murky.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday that President Trump’s positive test for coronavirus “changes the dynamic of stimulus talks.” But developments since suggest that the sides are still far apart on negotiating a new pandemic aid package, according to today’s DealBook newsletter.
Those pushing hard for a bill include the White House. Mr. Trump tweeted from the hospital on Saturday that the country “wants and needs” more stimulus. For Mr. Trump, a deal would serve as a sign of his authority, taking attention away from his health and unfavorable polls.
Congressional leaders, though, are still haggling. When asked Sunday whether Mr. Trump’s comments meant the two parties were closer to a deal, Ms. Pelosi demurred: “No, it means that we want to see that they will agree on what we need to do to crush the virus so that we can open the economy and open our schools safely.” She said that the parties were “making progress” toward a deal, but with Mr. Biden ahead in the polls, Democrats may feel they have the upper hand in negotiations.
On the Senate side, the majority leader, Mitch McConnell, is balancing competing interests among his Republican colleagues — some want a deal to bring home to constituents and others are worried about approving another large spending deal. Adding to the difficulties, the Senate has delayed its next sitting until Oct. 19, to account for positive coronavirus tests among Republican members.
Hanging in the balance are jobs and the economy. The longer people are out of the work, the harder it is for them to come back, suggesting that we may be entering the slow, grinding phase of a recovery that could tip into recession. There are still about twice as many people out of work now than before the pandemic, and without aid akin to what was in the first stimulus bill, weaker consumer spending, missed rent payments and other factors could ripple through the economy and the financial system.
Paris will close its bars and many cafes for at least two weeks starting on Tuesday.
Bars in Paris will close for two weeks starting on Tuesday, the authorities there announced on Monday, as France tries to stem a surge of coronavirus cases in its capital. The measure will also affect most cafes, which in many cases serve alcohol, but little or no food. Restaurants will be able to remain open if they follow a strict health protocol.
Paris joined a handful of other French areas that have been placed on maximum alert because of a continued rise in infections, especially among older people. Local health authorities said the capital had been above the thresholds for the top alert level — more than 250 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people generally, more than 100 per 100,000 in the elderly, and more than one-third of intensive care beds used for Covid-19 patients — since last Thursday.
On average, there are over 3,500 new infections a day in Paris and 203 active clusters, especially among young people for whom the incidence rate is over 500 infections per 100,000 people. In France generally, the seven-day average for new daily cases is above 11,000. The Paris region has as many patients hospitalized for coronavirus as it did in May, when the country was just exiting its two-month lockdown.
Mayor Anne Hidalgo and the head of the Paris police said at a news conference on Monday that the bar closures would apply to Paris and the surrounding suburbs. Gyms, dancing halls and enclosed swimming pools will be closed to adults, though minors will be allowed to use gyms and pools.
“The epidemic is going too fast,” said Didier Lallement, the Paris police chief. “We need to brake now before our health system is submerged.”
Restaurants will have to keep registers of customers for contact-tracing, distance tables by one meter, keep seating to no more than six per table and take payments at the table.
Those restaurant rules will also apply in other maximum-risk areas, including the southern cities of Aix-en-Provence and Marseille, where the authorities had closed restaurants under a tightening of restrictions last month. But bars in those two cities will remain closed for at least another week.
Starting on Tuesday, new restrictions will also apply to universities in areas on high alert, with classrooms and lecture halls operating at half capacity or below. Retirement home visits will become appointment-only, and with a maximum of two people per visit.
“Living with it and protecting, that’s the goal we must have,” Ms. Hidalgo said, adding that she hoped she would be able to come back in 15 days with good news about “the epidemic’s front line.”
Israel’s second coronavirus lockdown is fraying nerves, amid protests, confusion and violence.
Israel was the first country to enter a second national coronavirus lockdown, but with new daily cases of the coronavirus reaching up to 9,000 recently, and with public trust in the government plummeting, there has been little letup in a growing sense of chaos and loss of control.
Several factors are complicating its struggle with a surge in coronavirus cases and deaths that, relative to the size of the population, is among the worst in the world.
Curbs on protests under the new lockdown — limiting gatherings to 20 masked people, two meters apart and no farther than about half a mile from their homes — have backfired. Israelis calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is standing trial on corruption charges and has been a focus of blame over the country’s handling of the pandemic, have staged hundreds of smaller demonstrations, even as protesters face an increase in attacks by their opponents and the police are also accused of violence.
The authorities are also struggling to prevent large gatherings in the country’s ultra-Orthodox communities during the Jewish High Holy Days, which began on Sept. 18 and extend until Oct. 11. Dr. Ronni Gamzu, Israel’s coronavirus czar, said last week that 40 percent of those testing positive came from the ultra-Orthodox community, even though it makes up only about 13 percent of the population.
Some Hasidic sects insisted on holding indoor prayers to celebrate Sukkot, the Jewish harvest holiday. Stormy confrontations broke out on Sunday in some ultra-Orthodox areas.
But the large weddings that were blamed for a surge of infections among Israel’s Arab minority over the summer have subsided, after Arab mayors acted to enforce restrictions on large gatherings. There has been a significant decline in new cases among Arab citizens of Israel.
As the Peace Corps prepares to redeploy volunteers, it faces questions over their safety.
Six months ago, for the first time in its history, the Peace Corps suspended all operations as the coronavirus raced around the globe. Now it is preparing to send volunteers back into the field.
But the planning for the redeployment of Americans around a world shaken by the pandemic comes as the agency faces renewed questions about the quality of its medical care, touched off in part by the death of a 24-year-old volunteer from undiagnosed malaria.
The volunteer, Bernice Heiderman, died alone in a hotel room in Comoros, off Africa’s east coast, in 2018, after sending desperate text messages to her family. She told them that her Peace Corps doctor was not taking her complaints seriously.
An investigation by the agency’s inspector general documented a string of problems. Ms. Heiderman’s doctor, the investigation found, had “limited training in tropical medicine,” and failed to test for malaria — an obvious diagnosis. And the agency’s medical experts in Washington, with whom he consulted, never asked him to.
“Had she received timely treatment,” the inspector general concluded, “she could have made a rapid, full recovery.”
In March, the Peace Corps evacuated more than 7,000 volunteers from more than 60 countries. It is now accepting applications for them to return to service. If conditions permit, officials said, some may return to their posts by the end of the year, and new volunteers may begin as early as Jan. 1.
The agency said in an emailed statement that it “continues to grieve the tragic loss of volunteer Bernice Heiderman” and that it had “initiated several steps to further strengthen health care for volunteers.”PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEERSRead more about the questions facing the agency during the coronavirus pandemic.
In other global developments:
- Ireland is considering reimposing a national lockdown for four weeks, after concern from public health officials over rising infections. Under the proposed restrictions, which local media said government leaders would discuss with the country’s chief medical officer on Monday, most people would be barred from leaving home except to exercise or for essential reasons. Almost 1,000 new cases were reported from the weekend as of Sunday. Ireland has recorded a total of 38,032 cases and 1,810 deaths.
- New Zealand will lift restrictions on Auckland, its most populous city, from midnight on Wednesday, joining the rest of the nation. Restrictions had been reinstated after a cluster of infections emerged, but after the city reported no new infections for 10 consecutive days, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday that a second wave there had almost certainly been “eliminated.”
- Pope Francis criticized the lack of unity in the world’s response to the coronavirus pandemic in a document released on Sunday. “Aside from the different ways that various countries responded to the crisis, their inability to work together became quite evident,” Francis said in the encyclical, the most authoritative form of papal teaching. “For all our hyperconnectivity, we witnessed a fragmentation that made it more difficult to resolve problems that affect us all.”
- With President Trump hospitalized with Covid-19, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will cut short a trip to Asia this week, canceling stops in South Korea and Mongolia but continuing with a visit to Japan. Mr. Pompeo earlier alluded to the possibility of curtailing his Asia visit because of the infections in the president’s circle, but a State Department spokeswoman, Morgan Ortagus, did not specify why the schedule had been changed in a statement on Saturday.
Trump says he’s ‘learned a lot.’ But have Americans?
“I learned a lot about Covid,” the president of the United States assured his fellow citizens, looking straight into the camera on Day 3 of his stay at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
But what have Americans learned?
It may just be how little they still seem to know about the virus — and about the most famous patient in the world.
When did President Trump and his aides first realize he might be infected? When exactly did his treatment begin? Did he know he might be ill and meet with supporters anyway? And were his doctors being fully forthcoming about just how he sick he might be?
There were questions, too, about just what a president who has mocked mask wearing, encouraged crowded political rallies, advanced dubious treatments and at times even dismissed the seriousness of the virus threat has learned from his own personal encounter with Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus.
“I get it, and I understand it,” Mr. Trump said in the video he posted from the Walter Reed military hospital in Bethesda, Md., late Sunday afternoon. But it was anyone’s guess if he was chagrined at the situation he now found himself in. Officials on his campaign have continued to defend his flouting of public health guidelines; over the weekend, they refused to acknowledge that it could have led to his infection and the infections of other Republicans.
The president did not use the video as an opportunity to urge people to be careful: to wear masks and maintain social distance. He did use it to laud his political supporters, some of whom were gathered outside the hospital complex.
Then, seasoned reality show performer that he is, he broke the fourth wall, confiding to viewers that he planned to pay those supporters a surprise visit.
A little while later, he made good on his word. The president infected with a disease that has killed more than 200,000 Americans got into a tightly sealed S.U.V. accompanied by Secret Service agents for a quick drive-by wave.
TRUMP’S EXCURSIONThe president made a surprise outing from his hospital bed in an effort to show his improvement, but questions remain about his condition.
Clorox wipes are still the hard-to-find pandemic item.
Most shoppers these days are able to routinely buy common household items like toilet paper, paper towels, pasta and beans that were in short supply in the early weeks of the pandemic. But Clorox wipes remain stubbornly elusive.
With cleanliness on the minds of many guarding against the virus, the wipes have become the pandemic version of the must-have toy of the holiday season. Across social media, shoppers share where and when to find wipes made by Clorox, or Lysol — which is owned by Reckitt Benckiser Group — or wipes from other brands. (Only Clorox and a handful of other wipes have been approved by regulators to kill coronavirus.)
All of the hullabaloo around its disinfecting wipes has been a strange turn of events for Clorox, which started making and selling liquid bleach as a household cleaning product back in 1916, and presents a big challenge for Linda Rendle, a 17-year veteran of the company who took over as its chief executive officer in mid-September.
The company said it was struggling because demand for the wipes had surged 500 percent in the past few months. After increasing production, Clorox is making one million canisters of disinfecting wipes each day. (Executives wouldn’t say how that compared with before the pandemic.) It plans to further increase production early next year.
Before the pandemic, Clorox — which also makes Glad trash bags, Kingsford charcoal and Pine Sol cleaner — told Wall Street analysts that, at best, the company would see a 1 percent increase in sales for its fiscal year 2020.
— Julie CreswellELUSIVE CLEANING SUPPLIESFor some on social media, finding Clorox wipes has become like winning the lottery.
The N.Y.P.D. warns officers: Wear your masks.
New York City police officials have instructed all officers to wear masks in public or risk discipline, as the department faces mounting criticism over officers’ failure to comply with a state mandate that people wear face coverings in public when social distancing is not possible.
The Police Department’s directive, issued on Friday in memos and a video, came after elected officials repeatedly called out the police for flouting the mask mandate they are supposed to enforce. About 400 officers have been assigned to nine neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens wherethere have been upticks in coronavirus cases and where the city plans to close nonessential businesses and schools this week.
Terence A. Monahan, the chief of department and the highest-ranking uniformed officer, appeared in a video sent to officers on Friday instructing them to wear masks in public areas, department facilities and where they cannot be socially distanced.
“It is our responsibility to set the example for our great city and do everything we can to help ensure that we do not have another hospitalized member bring this deadly infection into our homes or have another funeral,” he said.
A memo sent later in the day added that the requirement applies to shared offices, elevators, halls and bathrooms, and at all times in the first 14 days of an officer’s return from places with a travel advisory. But officials carved out exceptions when officers are eating and drinking, adjusting their masks or having difficulty breathing.
A student dies, and a campus gets serious about coronavirus.
The death of 19-year-old Chad Dorrill, a student at Appalachian State in North Carolina, has shaken the rural campus in the Blue Ridge Mountains, prompting questions about whether the college is doing enough to keep its students and faculty safe.
Young people have generally been at lower risk of developing severe Covid-19, and there have been only a few student deaths linked to the coronavirus. But Mr. Dorrill’s death has made the virus real for his classmates.
“It’s not a hoax, that this virus really does exist,” said Emma Crider. “Before this, the overall mentality was ‘out of sight, out of mind.’”
As if to underscore that point, cases at Appalachian State, part of North Carolina’s state university system, spiked sharply last week. On Thursday, the school canceled a football game and announced outbreaks in four residence halls, two fraternity houses, the volleyball team and the football program. The school’s dashboard shows more than 700 confirmed Covid-19 cases since early June, across a 20,000-student campus.
Appalachian State has not conducted the kind of costly, widespread mandatory testing and tracing of people with and without symptoms that has helped control the virus at some campuses. Rather, the school has offered voluntary testing at its student health center and at “pop-up” test sites where students can walk up and be tested twice weekly.
That approach, the school’s website says, is based on C.D.C. guidance, which has advised against testing all students upon arrival. Health experts have criticized that guidance as weak and confusing, but many large public colleges have used it as the basis of their approaches.
In the wake of Mr. Dorrill’s death and the spike in cases, tensions are rising over whether Appalachian State needs to take stronger measures to contain the virus.
“There has been polarization between those who say, ‘Just wear a mask, we’ll be OK,’ and the faculty who just don’t want to be in the room,” said Rick Rheingans, chairman of Appalachian State’s department of sustainable development, who has been tracking the school’s health measures. “My argument has been that we need rigorous testing and active tracing, quarantining and isolation. We can’t reopen if we’re not safe.”
— Cristina Bolling and Shawn Hubler
Laughter may be effective medicine for these trying times.
Some doctors, nurses and therapists have a prescription for helping us through this pandemic: Try a little laughter.
Humor is not just a distraction from the crisis, said Dr. Michael Miller, a cardiologist at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore. It’s a winning strategy to stay healthy in the face of it.
“Heightened stress magnifies the risk of cardiovascular events, including heart attacks and strokes,” Dr. Miller said. “Having a good sense of humor is an excellent way to relieve stress and anxiety and bring back a sense of normalcy during these turbulent times.”
Laughter releases nitric oxide, a chemical that relaxes blood vessels, reduces blood pressure and decreases clotting, Dr. Miller said. An epidemiological study of older men and women in Japan confirmed that those who tend to laugh more have a lower risk of major cardiovascular illness. Possessing a healthy sense of humor is also associated with living longer, an epidemiological study from Norway reported, although the correlation appears to be stronger for women than for men.
Armed with this growing body of research, Dr. Miller prescribes “one good belly laugh a day” for his patients. It’s not just going “ha, ha,” he explained, but a “deep physiological laugh that elicits tears of joy and relaxation.”
— Richard Schiffman
The owner of Regal Cinemas is temporarily closing its U.S. theaters, affecting 40,000 employees.
The plight of the entertainment industry deepened on Monday as the British company Cineworld, which owns Regal Cinemas in the United States, said it would temporarily close all 663 of its movie theaters in the United States and Britain. The move was expected to affect 40,000 employees in the United States and 5,000 in Britain.
The chain had reopened in parts of the United States and Europe over the summer, but about 200 theaters, mostly in California and New York, have been shut since the pandemic began in the spring.
The news sent Cineworld’s stock spiraling. It fell as much as 60 percent when the stock market opened in London on Monday. It was later trading about 38 percent lower on the day.
The company said it could not entice viewers back without a pipeline of new films. The news came after Metro-Goldwyn-Mayerannounced on Friday it would push back the release date of the latest James Bond film, “No Time to Die,” to April from this fall — the second time its release date has been delayed because of the pandemic.
Mooky Greidinger, the chief executive of Cineworld, said on Sky News that delays in the opening of many films — including “Mulan,” “Black Widow,” “Wonder Woman 1984,” as well as the Bond movie — meant the company “didn’t have the goods” for customers.
“It’s the wrong decision from the studios to move the movies in such a way,” Mr. Greidinger said.
He added that he felt the company had been able to reopen with enough health and safety precautions to welcome back customers, and cited “Tenet,” the Christopher Nolan film that opened in August and September, as the most significant release this year. It has made more than $300 million in the box office globally but just $45 million of that was in the United States.
The delays by studios in releasing what would have been before the pandemic blockbuster movies, is hurting theaters all over the world. Tim Richards, the chief executive of VueInternational, said that the studios were being too U.S.-centric by not acknowledging reopenings in Europe and China. “We are struggling. We are absolutely struggling,” he said on Sky News.
Mr. Greidinger did not specify when Cineworld and Regal theaters might reopen. That “might be in two months, it might even a little bit longer,” he said.
In September, Cineworld reported a pretax loss of $1.6 billion for the first half of 2020. In total, the company operates 780 cinemas and is leaving about 100 locations in Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania open. Last year, 90 percent of the company’s revenue was generated in the United States and Britain.
In a memo to staff in Britain, Mr. Greidinger said: “Unfortunately, we cannot operate without a proper flow of products and sadly, you, like I, have seen audience numbers dwindle to tiny and unsustainable levels and the delay of Bond has been a huge blow.”
He did not say what would happen to workers’ jobs. The British government has announced a new job support program, in which employers and the government would share the cost of topping up the wages of employees whose hours were reduced. It will replace a more generous furlough program that ends later this month. Echoing critics of the government’s new plan, Mr Greidinger told staff that because it places a greater financial burden on employers it “cannot work for us when we have almost no income.”
Anna Schaverien contributed reporting.
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