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Kamala Harris expresses distrust of any vaccine promoted by President Trump.

Senator Kamala Harris of California, the Democratic nominee for vice president,said she would not trust President Trump’s assurances that a coronavirus vaccine was safe and instead would wait for medical experts to confirm the vaccine was reliable before she received an inoculation.

“I will not take his word for it,” Ms. Harris said of Mr. Trump on CNN’s “Inside Politics.”

“He wants us to inject bleach,” she added, referring to remarks in April when the president incomprehensibly suggested a dangerous coronavirus treatment.

Ms. Harris’s remarks came after federal officials alerted state and major city public health agencies last week to prepare to distribute a vaccine to health care workers and other high-risk groups as soon as late October or early November. Given that no vaccine candidates have completed the kind of large-scale human trials that can prove efficacy and safety, that time frame has heightened concerns that the Trump administration is seeking to rush a vaccine rollout ahead of Election Day on Nov. 3.

For months, Ms. Harris and Joseph R. Biden Jr. have assailed Mr. Trump for his handling of the pandemic. Ms Harris’s comments on Sunday questioning a potential vaccine, as scientists racing for a vaccine report constant pressure from a White House anxious for good news, are likely to further sow skepticism among Americans considering whether to get the vaccine when it becomes available.

“We are open to thinking outside the box and coming up with new ways to handle this pandemic,” said Esther Babady, the director of the clinical microbiology service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. But she said antigen tests that could work at home had yet to enter the market.

Also, no rigorous study has shown that fast and frequent testing is better than sensitive but slower in the real world, she said. “The data for that is what’s missing.”

What has been put forth about the approach is “largely aspirational, and we need to check it against reality,” said Dr. Alexander McAdam, the director of the infectious diseases diagnostic laboratory at Boston Children’s Hospital and an author of a recent report on pandemic testing strategies in The Journal of Clinical Microbiology.

Most of the coronavirus tests to date rely on a laboratory technique called PCR, long considered the gold standard because it can pick up even small amounts of genetic material from germs like the coronavirus.

But sputtering supply chains have compromised efforts to collect, ship and process samples for PCR tests, lengthening turnaround times. And the longer the wait, the less useful the result.

Although she is one of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s most trusted confidants, she has been careful to distance herself from him when possible when it comes to the virus. Mr. López Obrador minimized the pandemic early on, questioning the science behind face masks and doing little testing. Seeking to avert economic pain, he has barely restricted travel.

Under his watch, Mexico has the fourth-highest coronavirus death toll worldwide.

As of Saturday, Mexico had recorded 67,326 coronavirus deaths, according to a Times database. But the health ministry also said that the country had recorded 122,765 more deaths than usual from the time the pandemic started until August, suggesting that its true toll could be much higher than reported.

When Mr. López Obrador was still kissing babies at rallies and comparing the virus to the flu, Ms. Sheinbaum was planning for a long pandemic. She pushed an aggressive testing and contact tracing campaign, and set up testing kiosks where people get swabbed for free.

She also required that everyone in Mexico City use face coverings on public transit, and wore a mask each time she addressed the news media. And when doctors told her the N95 masks the federal government had imported from China were too narrow to fit Mexican faces, she had a local factory converted into a mask-making operation.

For Ms. Sheinbaum, a scientist with a Ph.D. in energy engineering, aligning too closely with the president would mean ignoring the practices she knows are in the best interest of public health. Stray too far, and she risks losing the support of a political kingmaker who is said to be considering her — the first woman and first Jewish person elected to lead the nation’s capital — as the party’s next presidential candidate.

So far, her strategy has been to follow the science while refusing to criticize the president.

Within days of the University of Iowa’s reopening, students were complaining that they couldn’t get coronavirus tests or were bumping into people who were supposed to be in isolation. Undergraduates were jamming sidewalks and downtown bars, masks hanging below their chins, never mind the city’s mask mandate.

Now, Iowa City is a full-blown pandemic hot spot — one of about 100 college communities around the United States where infections have spiked in recent weeks as students have returned for the fall semester. Although the rate of infection has bent downward in the Northeast, where the virus first peaked in the U.S., it remains high across many states in the Midwest and South — and evidence suggests that students returning to big campuses are a major factor.

In a New York Times review of 203 U.S. counties where students make up at least 10 percent of the population, about half have experienced their worst weeks of the pandemic since Aug. 1. In about half of those, figures showed that the number of new infections is currently peaking.

Despite the surge in cases, there has been no uptick in deaths in college communities, data shows. This suggests that most of the infections are stemming from campuses, since young people who contract the virus are far less likely to die than older people.

However, leaders fear that young people who are infected will contribute to the spread of the virus throughout the community.

The surge in infections reported by county health departments comes as many college administrations are also disclosing clusters on their campuses. The virus’s potential spread beyond campus greens has deeply affected the workplaces, schools, governments and other institutions of local communities.

The result is often an exacerbation of traditional town-and-gown tensions as college towns have tried to balance economic dependence on universities with visceral public health fears.

Around the globe, including in some of the world’s wealthiest countries, educators are struggling with how to facilitate distance learning during the pandemic. But in poorer countries like Indonesia, the challenge is particularly difficult.

In North Sumatra, students climb to the tops of tall trees a mile from their mountain village. Perched on branches high above the ground, they hope for a cellphone signal strong enough to complete their assignments.

The travails of these students and others like them have come to symbolize the hardships faced by millions of schoolchildren across the Indonesian archipelago. Officials have closed schools and brought in remote learning, but internet and cellphone service is limited and many students do not have smartphones and computers.

More than a third of Indonesian students have limited or no internet access, according to the Education Ministry, and experts fear that many students will fall far behind, especially in remote areas where online study remains a novelty.

Indonesia’s efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus have met with mixed results. As of Saturday, the country had 190,665 cases and 7,940 deaths. But testing has been limited and independent health experts say the actual number of cases is many times higher.

With the start of a new academic year in July, schools in virus-free zones were allowed to reopen, but these schools serve only a fraction of the nation’s students. As of August, communities in low-risk areas could decide whether to reopen schools, but few have done so.

“Students have no idea what to do, and parents think it is just a holiday,” said Itje Chodidjah, an educator and teacher trainer in Jakarta, the capital. “We still have lots of areas where there is no internet access. In some areas, there is even difficulty getting electricity.”

Reporting was contributed by Catie Edmondson, Robert Gebeloff, Shawn Hubler, Danielle Ivory, Jennifer Jett, Natalie Kitroeff, Sarah Kliff, Tiffany May, Dera Menra Sijabat, Richard C. Paddock, Tara Parker-Pope, Austin Ramzy, Sarah Watson and Katherine J. Wu.

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