being infected and dying at higher rates.


Credit…Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

By one estimate, black people accounted for at least 29 percent of known Covid-19 cases in Minnesota, despite making up about 6 percent of the state’s population. African-Americans make up 35 percent of coronavirus cases in Minneapolis, though they are less than 20 percent of the city’s population.

“There are no words to describe what people are going through,” said State Representative Mohamud Noor, who represents a district with many Somalis and other immigrants. His great-uncle died of the coronavirus a few days ago, and Mr. Noor said he is losing track of how many other relatives and constituents are dying.

Mr. Noor said the school closures had hurt poorer students without laptops or reliable internet access to take classes online, and that waves of job losses had sent local unemployment rates soaring. Now, with more than 200 businesses damaged or destroyed in the unrest, Mr. Noor said he was worried about new waves of foreclosures, job losses and business failures.

“Many people who are poor who didn’t have much, this devastation will really impact them,” Mr. Noor said.

Even before the pandemic, the Midtown neighborhood, where buildings were burned, damaged and looted, had been trying to rebuild itself after years of economic hardship. The area is in a historically segregated part of town where some residents had felt neglected. A railway was repurposed into a bike and walking trail that runs through the neighborhood. The Midtown Global Market had sprung up, attracting diners and shoppers to its Hmong, Indian, Moroccan and other international food and crafts.

But now, next door to Mr. Mills, the barber, a dollar store and beauty-supply shop have been burned to rubble. The front windows of Mr. Mills’s barbershop were smashed, and looters stole his televisions, video equipment and his clippers.

Now, with the power out, water seeping across the floor and phalanxes of police officers and National Guard troops blockading his neighborhood, he does not know when his J-Klips barbershop might reopen.


Credit…Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

“Half of the place is condemned,” he said. “Where do we go from here?”

Phillipe Cunningham, a city council member, represents a poor ward in northern Minneapolis with a large black, Hmong and Native American population. He said had spent the past two months fighting to get a coronavirus testing site opened and fielding calls from laid-off workers falling behind on rent and black business owners unable to navigate the maze of federal relief programs.

On Friday, Mr. Cunningham drove around surveying damaged buildings, helping some of the same business owners board up their storefronts and trying to prevent looters from breaking into stores.

  • Updated May 28, 2020

    • My state is reopening. Is it safe to go out?

      States are reopening bit by bit. This means that more public spaces are available for use and more and more businesses are being allowed to open again. The federal government is largely leaving the decision up to states, and some state leaders are leaving the decision up to local authorities. Even if you aren’t being told to stay at home, it’s still a good idea to limit trips outside and your interaction with other people.

    • What’s the risk of catching coronavirus from a surface?

      Touching contaminated objects and then infecting ourselves with the germs is not typically how the virus spreads. But it can happen. A number of studies of flu, rhinovirus, coronavirus and other microbes have shown that respiratory illnesses, including the new coronavirus, can spread by touching contaminated surfaces, particularly in places like day care centers, offices and hospitals. But a long chain of events has to happen for the disease to spread that way. The best way to protect yourself from coronavirus — whether it’s surface transmission or close human contact — is still social distancing, washing your hands, not touching your face and wearing masks.

    • What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

      Common symptoms include fever, a dry cough, fatigue and difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. Some of these symptoms overlap with those of the flu, making detection difficult, but runny noses and stuffy sinuses are less common. The C.D.C. has also added chills, muscle pain, sore throat, headache and a new loss of the sense of taste or smell as symptoms to look out for. Most people fall ill five to seven days after exposure, but symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days.

    • How can I protect myself while flying?

      If air travel is unavoidable, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself. Most important: Wash your hands often, and stop touching your face. If possible, choose a window seat. A study from Emory University found that during flu season, the safest place to sit on a plane is by a window, as people sitting in window seats had less contact with potentially sick people. Disinfect hard surfaces. When you get to your seat and your hands are clean, use disinfecting wipes to clean the hard surfaces at your seat like the head and arm rest, the seatbelt buckle, the remote, screen, seat back pocket and the tray table. If the seat is hard and nonporous or leather or pleather, you can wipe that down, too. (Using wipes on upholstered seats could lead to a wet seat and spreading of germs rather than killing them.)

    • How many people have lost their jobs due to coronavirus in the U.S.?

      More than 40 million people — the equivalent of 1 in 4 U.S. workers — have filed for unemployment benefits since the pandemic took hold. One in five who were working in February reported losing a job or being furloughed in March or the beginning of April, data from a Federal Reserve survey released on May 14 showed, and that pain was highly concentrated among low earners. Fully 39 percent of former workers living in a household earning $40,000 or less lost work, compared with 13 percent in those making more than $100,000, a Fed official said.

    • Is ‘Covid toe’ a symptom of the disease?

      There is an uptick in people reporting symptoms of chilblains, which are painful red or purple lesions that typically appear in the winter on fingers or toes. The lesions are emerging as yet another symptom of infection with the new coronavirus. Chilblains are caused by inflammation in small blood vessels in reaction to cold or damp conditions, but they are usually common in the coldest winter months. Federal health officials do not include toe lesions in the list of coronavirus symptoms, but some dermatologists are pushing for a change, saying so-called Covid toe should be sufficient grounds for testing.

    • Can I go to the park?

      Yes, but make sure you keep six feet of distance between you and people who don’t live in your home. Even if you just hang out in a park, rather than go for a jog or a walk, getting some fresh air, and hopefully sunshine, is a good idea.

    • How do I take my temperature?

      Taking one’s temperature to look for signs of fever is not as easy as it sounds, as “normal” temperature numbers can vary, but generally, keep an eye out for a temperature of 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. If you don’t have a thermometer (they can be pricey these days), there are other ways to figure out if you have a fever, or are at risk of Covid-19 complications.

    • Should I wear a mask?

      The C.D.C. has recommended that all Americans wear cloth masks if they go out in public. This is a shift in federal guidance reflecting new concerns that the coronavirus is being spread by infected people who have no symptoms. Until now, the C.D.C., like the W.H.O., has advised that ordinary people don’t need to wear masks unless they are sick and coughing. Part of the reason was to preserve medical-grade masks for health care workers who desperately need them at a time when they are in continuously short supply. Masks don’t replace hand washing and social distancing.

    • What should I do if I feel sick?

      If you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus or think you have, and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.

    • How do I get tested?

      If you’re sick and you think you’ve been exposed to the new coronavirus, the C.D.C. recommends that you call your healthcare provider and explain your symptoms and fears. They will decide if you need to be tested. Keep in mind that there’s a chance — because of a lack of testing kits or because you’re asymptomatic, for instance — you won’t be able to get tested.

    • How can I help?

      Charity Navigator, which evaluates charities using a numbers-based system, has a running list of nonprofits working in communities affected by the outbreak. You can give blood through the American Red Cross, and World Central Kitchen has stepped in to distribute meals in major cities.

“We were already struggling,” Mr. Cunningham said.

In many pockets of the city where the virus seemed to be more concentrated, residents have not had access to masks and hand sanitizer, even as the mayor ordered masks be worn when inside businesses as of earlier this week, said Jia Starr Brown, pastor of First Covenant Church in downtown Minneapolis.

Even healthy people in Minneapolis were feeling anxious after a long stretch of being holed up in their homes as spring arrived; a limited reopening of businesses was not set to begin until Monday. That loosening of restrictions came with a long list of social-distancing and sanitation rules.

Ms. Brown spoke as she stepped away from a protest outside a county building Friday afternoon, saying she was heartened to see so many people attend rallies calling for justice for Mr. Floyd, even when doing so was a health risk.

“This is about collective widespread grief, and how great must the grief be that people would risk their livelihoods?” she said. “Who we are as a people is greater than the risk to be out there. This is urgent. This isn’t about just our own individual lives as black people, but this is about our futures and children.”


Credit…Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

Many young people, especially minorities, were gig-economy workers holding two or three part-time jobs that evaporated when the outbreak hit, said Tyler Sit, pastor of the New City Church, which is blocks away from where Mr. Floyd died and from the Third Precinct that was burned in the protests. They were left jobless and worried about not having benefits should they become ill.

Sitting at home during lockdown, with no work and no prospect of finding work for the foreseeable future, he said, they were more aware than usual of news reports and then had the time to react by taking to the streets.

“I hear messages from community members trying to deliberate whether or not they’re going to show up. They don’t want to catch Covid-19 and spread Covid-19 if they happen to be an asymptomatic carrier,” he said. “But there’s a deep feeling of we have to do something because our city is burning.”

In Atlanta, Denver, New York and beyond, protesters have also emerged despite the pandemic. They have slipped on face masks and bandannas to guard against the coronavirus, as well as tear gas.

Rashawn Ray, a sociologist and fellow at The Brookings Institution, said one crucial difference between the two plagues is that the coronavirus, like past diseases, may one day dissipate with a vaccine or medical breakthrough. “We’ve never gotten to a place where racism is not a significant part of everyone’s life in the United States,” he said.

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