Here are the latest updates, listed in eastern time, and the most important things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic.
More than 200,000 Americans have died from coronavirus.
With a spike in coronavirus cases blamed on college students at the University of Colorado-Boulder, the city of Boulder has enacted tough new measures for a two-week period that will prohibit anyone between the ages of 18 and 22 from holding gatherings of any kind, NBC News reported. The ban, which went into effect Thursday at 4 p.m. local time, also prohibits gathering in outdoor spaces. The weather in Boulder looks to be mostly beautiful over the next two weeks, according to the AccuWeather forecast. The announcement was made public on the city’s Twitter account and was accompanied by a graph showing the huge spike in cases since late August is almost entirely among 18- and 19-year-olds and, to a lesser but still significant extent, 21- and 22-year-olds. “We must take stronger action to stop the spread of this virus in our community,” Boulder County public health director Jeff Zayach said in a health order issued on Thursday. “We have researched the actions we can take that would be effective while minimizing the burden on those who have not been the source of increased transmission. We believe this strategy can achieve both goals.”
A graphic showing the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Boulder, Colo., has mainly occurred in 18-22-year-olds. (Twitter / City of Boulder)
The action came on the same day the CDC released a new report linking a rise in COVID-19 cases in older people to the spread of the illness in younger people. According to the report, the data analysis showed that "younger adults, who are more likely to have mild or no symptoms, can unknowingly contribute to presymptomatic or asymptomatic transmission to others, including to persons at higher risk for severe illness."
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and First Lady Pamela Northam have both tested positive for the coronavirus after a member of the residence staff tested positive earlier in the week. The official residence staff worked closely within the coupe's living quarters and once he tested positive for the virus, both the Governor and First Lady were tested. The governor and first lady will go into isolation for the next 10 days. Governor Northam will fulfill his duties from the executive Mansion. The first lady is experiencing mild symptoms while Northam is experiencing no symptoms.
Dentists have linked a rise in cracked teeth to the stress put upon people by the coronavirus pandemic, which has now been going on for more than six months. Now, some doctors are saying hair loss could be both a direct and indirect effect of the coronavirus pandemic. According to The New York Times, doctors are reporting that some COVID-19 patients who have recovered are experiencing hair loss, an impact doctors are attributing to the stress of fighting off the illness and not the disease itself. The phenomenon is even extending beyond those who have contracted COVID-19. Doctors are observing hair loss in some frontline health care workers, who are battling the disease but have not become infected. Dr. Emma Guttman-Yassky, the incoming chairwoman of the dermatology department at Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine, told the Times, “Some of them had Covid, but not all of them,” Guttman-Yassky said. “It’s the stress of the situation. They were apart from their families, they worked for many hours.” As for whether the hair loss could be permanent, doctors have some theories based on the different types of hair loss being caused by the crisis, the Times reported.
Tensions over mask-wearing reached a boiling point this week in Logan, Ohio, when a mother was tased by an officer and then arrested for not wearing a mask in the stands at a middle school football game. The entire incident was caught on video by multiple spectators, which promptly went viral on social media, triggering an enormous uproar and causing Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine to weigh in on the controversy. According to local news channel WSYX, the Logan Police Department said a resource officer approached a woman seated in the stands who was not wearing a mask and informed her that school policy required her to wear a mask. The woman reportedly responded that she suffers from asthma and said she would not wear a face covering. After the woman refused several times, the officer said he was going to arrest her for criminal trespassing. When she resisted arrest, he used his taser on her and then placed her in handcuffs, video captured recorded by a bystander showed. Other spectators in the stands could be heard on saying “this is unreal” as the arrest unfolded. And the Logan-Hocking Schools were placed under lockdown on Thursday after the district was bombarded with threats following the incident.
Police argued the arrest was not for a mask violation, but criminal trespass after the woman was told to leave the premises for being in violation of school policy. As much opposition as there was to the arrest, there was also a groundswell of support for the officer’s action and on Thursday Gov. Mike DeWine responded to the brouhaha. To those who opposed the arrest, he said, “There's another time or place to make your point,” according to WSYX. And he added, "To anyone judging that school, that officer, that person: they were trying to follow the guidelines of Ohio High School Athletic Association to let the kids play. It's sad when we see something like that happen." Watch video of the incident below.
Here are the latest COVID-19 numbers, provided by researchers at Johns Hopkins University:
Confirmed cases: 32,261,676
The world had seen a few days with over 300,000 new cases recorded in a single day, but no 24-hour span compared to what was recorded on Thursday. Fueled by a resurgence of reported cases in Brazil, the world's COVID-19 case tally increased by over 361,000 on Thursday, shattering the previous daily high set on September 18. Brazil, which has seen the third-most cases in the world, saw 66,338 new cases on Thursday, its first days back above the 60,000 mark in nearly two months.
Ahead of a holiday shopping surge, Target announced it expects to hire around 130,000 seasonal employees this year. The number is similar to previous years, according to CNBC News, however this year the workload will be focused more on online services, such as same-day and curbside pickup and distribution services. Target CEO Brian Cornell said the trend of “contactless” shopping started earlier in the year and will remain in place during the holiday season. “Certainly, we continue to see the guests gravitate towards the ease and convenience and contact-free ways to shop through our digital channels,” Cornell said.
In a report released by the White House on Tuesday, Iowa universities were asked to increase COVID-19 testing in order to slow the spread of the virus. Last week, the state reported 5,472 new cases, which was up 15% from the week prior. It currently holds the seventh-highest rate of infection in the country with 173 new cases per 100,000 people, according to Fox News. Furthermore, schools should not send students home after testing positive and instead opt to quarantine them in order to keep contact tracing simple and prevent further transmission elsewhere, the report advised.
Chinese pharmaceutical company SinoVac announced on Thursday that a vaccine it has been working on should be ready for global distribution by early 2021. According to The Associated Press, Yin Weidong, the CEO of SinoVac, has previously stated that he would apply to sell the vaccine in the United States through the FDA if it passes a third round of human trials. “At the very beginning, our strategy was designed for China and for Wuhan. Soon after that in June and July we adjusted our strategy, that is to face the world,” Yin said “Our goal is to provide the vaccine to the world including the U.S., EU and others.” SinoVac’s vaccine is one of four top candidates for an effective vaccine in the country. The vaccine, called CoronaVac, is currently in clinical trials across the world with 24,000 participants.
Parents across the U.S. have been opting their children out of or delaying them from starting kindergarten due to the coronavirus.Preschools have faced similar declines in enrollment as the virus drives education to online resources, leaving parents to attend to their kids throughout the schooldays while holding onto their jobs. “I was stressed about everything and then thought, ‘Why does he need to start kindergarten?’ And it was like a weight was lifted,” Clair Reagan, a mother and 36-year-old high school teacher in Kansas told The Associated Press. She told the news agency she had been worried her oldest, a 5-year-old boy who has autism, would struggle with juggling in-person and virtual learning, and she wouldn’t have enough time to help him.In a University of Oregon survey conducted in early September with 1,000 parents across the U.S., 242 of whom had a kid who was supposed to start kindergarten this fall, 17% of the respondents said they were delaying their children’s schooling. A frequently cited reason for this was safety concerns, followed by concerns about juggling virtual schooling and other responsibilities, according to Philip Fisher, psychology professor at the university. Parents are becoming overwhelmed, particularly those in low-income communities where schools are more likely to be offering only remote schooling, according to Fisher.
This 91-year-old professor hasn't let the coronavirus pandemic stop him from teaching his students. Charles Krohn has been an English professor at The University of St. Thomas for over 50 years and has no plans to stop despite closures and restrictions. Earlier this month, his daughter, Julia Krohn, recorded him teaching his class remotely and has now been shared all over social media, according to ABC News. Houston's University of St. Thomas is using an e-learning model for students and staff. Krohn was invited to Julia's house to use her computer for teaching when Krohn was having computer problems. Many former students of Krohn saw the video and shared memories of his class.
A regional government agency in the San Francisco Bay Area, The Metropolitan Transportation Commission, voted on Wednesday to move forward with a proposal that would require everyone who works in large office-based companies to work from home at least three days a week. The proposal saw a huge boost in support amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has forced many to telecommute, NBC News said. Now that more workers have had experience working from home, transportation planners think the appeal is much wider. In the future, the plan is meant to help cut greenhouse gas emissions from those that commute by car. The proposal was part of a huge package of policies that explored what the Bay Area should look like by 2050. The commission voted in favor of the overall plan 11-1, according to NBC News. Large companies across the country that have offices in the Bay Area including Apple, Facebook, Google, Intel, and Netflix.
An elite hospitality management school in Switzerland has ordered 2,500 students to quarantine after a coronavirus outbreak spread across campus. Swiss authorities have linked the outbreak to off-campus partying, according to The Associated Press. All undergraduates studying at either the Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne or the Lausanne Hospitality Management University in English are told to quarantine because the virus has already spread too widely. The university dean, Ines Blal, said administrators had warned students against hosting parties and disciplinary investigations are now underway. Eleven students have tested positive for the coronavirus from the outbreak. The school has a student body population of 3,500.
United Airlines is expected to become the first airline in the U.S. to offer a COVID-19 testing program for passengers. The program will start Oct. 15 for passengers flying from San Francisco to Hawaii. Flyers will be given the option to order an at-home testing kit or can reserve a time for rapid testing at the airport, CBS News said. This is to waive Hawaii's strict two-week quarantine which has been in place since March. Starting in November, the state will allow people to opt out of the two-week quarantine if they are able to provide Hawaii officials with a negative COVID-19 test result from the last 72 hours. The testing kits at San Francisco International Airport are already in use for airport and airline employees. The test at the airport takes about 20 minutes and costs $250 while the at-home kit costs just $80 plus shipping and provides results in 48 hours, according to CBS News. The airline hopes to expand the testing options to hubs across the country such as New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
The amount of people filing for unemployment for the first time has unexpectedly increased last week as the labor market continues a slow recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. Numbers released by the Labor Department showed 870,000 initial jobless claims were filed for the week ending Sept. 19 which is 20,000 more than expected, according to CNBC. The previous week saw 860,000 new claims filed. Without adjustments, about 825,000 claims were filed last week and 796,000 were filed the prior week. New York and Georgia experienced the highest week-over-week increase in claims, with New York jumping by 9,000 and Georgia increasing by 6,000.
A surge in cases in Canada is causing long lines at testing centers across the country and some of the lines are lasting as long as a day, Reuters reports. Unlike other countries during the pandemic, Canada has been slower to adopt newer diagnostic testing capabilities that can produce results quicker, Reuters said. Canada has been conducting many tests by using deep nasal swabs and sending them off to labs for results, rather than using rapid "point-of-care" tests that are in other countries like the U.S. but aren't available in Canada yet, Reuters reported. Some fear the long lines and the lagging results could allow the virus to spread faster as people become less inclined to get tested. Canada is closing in on 150,000 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University.
France’s health minister revealed a new map of coronavirus “danger zones” on Wednesday, according to Reuters. The minister also asked authorities at the hardest-hit areas, including Marseille, to tighten restrictions to avoid having a state of health emergency declared there. The map, which will be divided into zones by alert level, currently only has Marseille and the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe as areas with a “maximum” alert level. Meanwhile, Paris and its suburbs, along with the northern city of Lille and the southwestern torn of Toulouse, were declared “reinforced danger zones,” according to Health Minister Olivier Veran. Some of the factors taken into account when defining the different danger zones include the number of infected people in general, the number of 65-and-over infected people and the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care units.
On Wednesday, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson announced that both he and his wife, Teresa Parson, have contracted the coronavirus. “I want everybody to know that myself and the first lady are both fine,” Parson said in a video. “Right now I feel fine. No symptoms of any kind. But right now we just have to take the quarantine procedures in place.” Missouri’s first lady began to experience mild symptoms and was tested two times to confirm the diagnosis, The Associated Press said. The governor was then tested and the results came back positive. Parson was at an event as recent as last Friday where he appeared with state officeholders who are seeking reelection, all of whom have since tested negative, The AP said.
Times Square will be much quieter and a lot less festive this Dec. 31. On Tuesday, it was reported that the annual New Year's Eve celebration, which typically packs over 1 million into the vibrant entertainment center of the Big Apple, will be held in a virtual capacity. One slight benefit to the virtual ball drop is that revelers will be able to enjoy it from the comfort of their homes and avoid some of the brutally cold air that has enveloped New York City in past years. Aside from the World War II dimout and this year's pandemic, the event has always taken place no matter the weather.
“One thing that will never change is the ticking of time and the arrival of a New Year at midnight on Dec. 31,” said Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance, said according to The New York Daily News. “But this year there will be significantly new and enhanced virtual, visual and digital offerings to complement whatever limited live entertainment or experiences — still in development — will take place in Times Square.”
Confetti falls at midnight on the Times Square New Year's Eve celebration, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020, in New York. (Photo by Ben Hider/Invision/AP)
Here are the latest COVID-19 numbers, provided by researchers at Johns Hopkins University:
Confirmed cases: 31,914,770
Russia, the nation that has seen the fourth-most cases in the world, had largely managed to flatten its curve of cases from the country's initial spike in early May. However, in recent weeks, new daily cases totals are starting to rise again and the country is now consistently seeing over 6,000 new cases reported each day. At its peak, Russia saw numerous days with at least 10,000 new cases reported.
Over the past six months, giant food companies that make products like cereal, canned soup and macaroni and cheese have experience an increase in sales. The companies that have grown since the start of the pandemic include Kraft Heinz, General Mills and Campbell Soup Co., as consumers' spending habits have changed during the pandemic, leading to the purchase of more canned and pre-made foods. “While the uptick in buying is partly driven by the pandemic, we are intentionally fueling this trend with sizable communication investments and media choices, and we’ll continue to leverage our momentum,” said Carlos Abrams-Rivera, U.S. zone president for Kraft Heinz, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Abrams-Rivera then added that as the pandemic continues, more people opt to eat at home, which is a reason for the increase in sales.
Singapore is one week away from releasing a small contact-tracing device called TraceTogether Token. The portable gadget will have a battery that can last nine months, Minister-in-Charge of GovTech Singapore Janil Puthucheary said in an interview, according to Bloomberg. Their goal is to reach 100% of the population with this wearable device. The token will work with a three-month-old phone app to reach the maximum number of residents, Janil, who heads the agency responsible for the development of these contact-tracing devices, said. This new device comes as the city-state ruled out the mandatory use of a contact tracing phone app called TraceTogether as a tool to monitor and track the spread of coronaivurs in the country, Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said in parliament on Friday.
A routine blood test could help doctors identify patients at risk for severe COVID-19, according to UPI. A new study published Wednesday by JAMA Open Network found that patients with red cell distribution width (RDW), above the normal range were almost three times as likely to die from the disease, according to UPI. "The findings suggest that an elevated RDW measured at admission and increasing RDW during hospitalization were associated with significantly higher mortality risk for patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection; RDW may be helpful for patient risk stratification," the researchers said.
More than 1,600 patients were involved in the study. A mortality rate of 11% was found in patients with normal RDW (1173) but the number jumped to 31% in those with an elevated RDW (468). "We found that a single test that's routinely done as part of a complete blood count is associated with a significant elevation in mortality risk from COVID-19," study co-author Dr. John M. Higgins, a pathologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, told UPI.
During a discussion on CNN Tuesday evening, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the league expects to begin the 2020-2021 season a little later than usual – probably in 2021. "My best guess is even though it'll be the 2020-21 season, that the season won’t start until 2021," Silver told Bob Costas. He said NIAID director Anthony Fauci has been advising the league on how to proceed. “We said the earliest we would start is Christmas of this year. But the more I'm learning and listening to Dr. Fauci this morning, I continue to believe we're going to be better off going into January,” he said, adding that the league intends to play a full regular-season slate of 82 games. “The goal for us next season is to play a standard season." One complication that starting the season in January could bring up is a conflict with the 2020 Summer Olympics, which as of now are scheduled to begin in July 2021 – year late due to the pandemic. Silver acknowledged that such a conflict could mean some top NBA players would miss out on playing for the U.S. basketball team. But, he said, “There are a lot of great U.S. players. We may be up against a scenario where the top 15 NBA players aren't competing in the Olympics. But other great American players are competing." Watch the full discussion with Costas and Silver below.
The entire continent of Europe has now combined to total over 5 million cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began this past winter, AFP reported. That total remains lower than the individual count for two countries, the United States, which is closing in on 7 million, and India, which is climbing toward 6 million, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
Europe's milestone comes as countries such as the United Kingdom, France and Spain are tightening restrictions to try to reduce rising levels of infections, AFP said. Half of the continent's total infections come from those three countries as well as Russia.
A new cluster of COVID-19 cases in Brooklyn is "cause for significant concern," New York City's health department said, according to Reuters. Officials are concerned about the Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg, where there is a 2% positive rate and a southern part of the borough that includes neighborhoods Midwood, Borough Park and Bensonhurst where the positive rate is 4.71%, according to the Reuters report. “At this point in time, these increases could potentially evolve into more widespread community transmission and spread to other neighborhoods unless action is taken,” Patrick Gallahue, a spokesperson for the New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, told Reuters.
Johnson & Johnson became the latest drugmaker to announce that its COVID-19 vaccine was beginning Phase 3 trials, joining other drugmakers including Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca. According to NBC News, the Johnson & Johnson trial is not expected to produce preliminary results for at least two months. However, there is one key difference with Johnson & Johnson's vaccine compared to those produced by Pfizer and Moderna. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine will reportedly be administered in one dose, unlike the other companies which will require two doses one month apart, NBC News said. Johnson & Johnson said in a statement that it is on track to meet its goal of providing one billion doses of a vaccine each year. If the vaccine is proven to be safe and effective, it "anticipates the first batches of a COVID-19 vaccine to be available for emergency use authorization in early 2021."
The NFL on Tuesday night issued another $700,000 in fines over coaches violating the league’s face covering policy, according to ESPN. Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden and New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton were each fined $100,000 for not wearing or properly wearing masks during a game on Monday night, ESPN reported citing an unidentified league insider. The coaches’ respective teams were slapped with a $250,000 fine each, bringing the total to five coaches and teams that have been punished by the league for violating its face-covering policy. Both Gruden and Payton have recovered from bouts with the coronavirus. Gruden seemed to strike a contrite tone after he was seen on the sideline Monday night wearing his mask more like a chin strap, saying his coronavirus experience "wasn't pleasant. And it was reported that I made up that I had the virus, and it really ticked me off because I would never do something like that.” He went on to say, "It’s a very serious matter and, you know, obviously, I'm sensitive about it.”
Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden was seen wearing a face mask improperly throughout a game against the New Orleans Saints on Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)
Here are the latest COVID-19 numbers, provided by researchers at Johns Hopkins University:
Confirmed cases: 31,638,070
The United States, which surpassed the 200,000 fatality threshold on Tuesday, has accounted for over one-fifth of every reported COVID-19-related fatality on the globe. As the world inches closer to the 1 million death mark, only one other country, Brazil, has seen even half as many deaths as the U.S.. The four most fatally-impacted nations, the U.S., Brazil, India and Mexico, account for over 50% of the deaths seen around the world.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and Secretary of the Department of Health Dr. Rachel Levine launched a COVID-19 exposure notification mobile app on Tuesday. The app, called COVID Alert Pennsylvania, was launched with the aim to help fight the spread of the virus and keep Pennsylvanians up-to-date with state COVID-19 statistics. “We all play a part in stopping the spread of COVID-19, which is why I am encouraging every Pennsylvanian to add their phone to the fight and download COVID alert PA today,” Levine said. “By utilizing this technology, we can quickly notify more people who have been exposed by to COVID-19. This innovative solutions will enhance our COVID-19 response and give residents another tool to stay calm, stay alert and stay safe all in the palm of their hands.”
Halloween might not be canceled, but it certainly will be a once-in-a-blue-moon occasion this year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Monday that it advises against traditional trick-or-treating this year, warning that celebrations for fall and winter celebrations may put people at increased risk for COVID-19. The center highlighted several "high-risk" activities to avoid during Halloween, including trick-or-treating, trunk-or-treating, attending crowded costume parties held indoors, going to haunted houses, going on hayrides or tractor rides with people from different households and other advisories, in new guidelines released this week. Among the lower risk activities, the CDC listed were carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household or at a safe distance with neighbors or friends, decorating your home, setting up an outdoor scavenger hunt, virtual Halloween costume contests and a Halloween movie night. The CDC also warn that Halloween masks are not substitutes for protective face masks, but to instead consider Halloween-themed cloth masks.
The sale of toilet paper rolls have started to soar again over the past week as manufacturers start preparing for an increase in demand following restrictions being put back into place by some areas. Sales have soared by 23% in the past week and WEPA Group, a U.K. manufacturer for toilet paper, said it expected these sales to remain high. A similar situation started in March worldwide when supermarkets quickly ran out of toilet paper due to lockdowns. Purchasing limits were introduced by many supermarkets in response. WEPA says they learned lessons from earlier in the year and insisted the U.K. would not run out of supplies as long as shoppers don't panic buy. Back-up production has been put into place by some facilities and haulers are on standby in the event of depleted stock.
The Notre Dame-Wake Forest football game originally scheduled for Friday was postponed after Wake Forest announced 13 of its players are in isolation, according to ESPN. The school released in a statement Tuesday that seven of its players had tested positive for the coronavirus out of 94 tests from Monday. When combined with COVID-19 tests performed last week, a total of 13 of the team’s players are currently in isolation, 10 of which are in quarantine. “With student-athlete health and safety our primary focus, we will continue to follow our prevention protocols and ongoing testing procedures,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said in a statement. “We managed an increase in positivity rates in August, and the players handled it wonderfully.” The two schools are currently working on rescheduling the game for a different date.
Airlines around the world are calling on airports to start testing departing international passengers as a replacement for quarantines. According to International Air Transport Association (IATA) Director General Alexandre de Juniac, rapid and affordable tests should be available in “coming weeks” and should be universally agreed upon. According to Reuters, De Juniac said rapid antigen tests will become available for $7 each and the IATA believes production of those tests could be increased to millions per day in order to help save part of the winter travel season.
The U.S. reached another grim milestone on Tuesday as COVID-19-related deaths in the nation surpassed 200,000, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. is the first to reach this threshold, which was crossed just days after the world saw a new record-breaking week for most cases amid pandemic-fatigue. The nation has recorded over 6.8 million coronavirus cases. Among the states that have recorded the most deaths from COVID-19 are:
New York with over 33,000
New Jersey with over 16,000
Texas with over 15,000
California with over 15,000
Florida with over 13,000
The regional government of Madrid chief has requested the army's assistance in fighting the recent surge of coronavirus cases, where local authorities have ordered a partial lockdown. When the initial surge of the virus spread around Spain in March-April, thousands of troops were deployed in the country to help civilians contain the spread, according to Reuters. As another wave of infections spreads across the country, Spain has become the country with the highest infections in Western Europe with over 670,000. Isabel Diaz Ayuso said in a news briefing that makeshift hospitals are being requested to be set up again and the central and regional government would determine the size of the military and police reinforcement.
A report released on Monday shows that 156 countries are now either committed to or eligible for the COVAX facility. The number represents nearly two-thirds of the global population, according to the World Health Organization. Among the economies that joined, are 64 higher income economies and 92 low- and middle-income economies. “COVAX is now in business: governments from every continent have chosen to work together, not only to secure vaccines for their own populations, but also to help ensure vaccines are available for the most vulnerable everywhere,” said Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which is coordinating the COVAX Facility. “With the commitments we’re announcing today for the COVAX Facility, as well as the historic partnership we are forging with the industry, we now stand a far better chance of ending the acute phase of this pandemic once safe, effective vaccines become available.”
Despite being pushed back from May to September due to the coronavirus, the French open will still face the consequences of the pandemic when it starts on Sunday. Although it was first reported that 20,000 fans would be allowed into Roland Garros, that figure was downsized to 11,500, and then to 5,000 as the COVID-19 infections continue to rise in France. On Sunday, it was also reported that two players had tested positive for the virus, while three others had been in contact with a coach who had tested positive.
However, the Open is still set to take place on Sunday, rain or shine. With the approach of fall, spectators might have to bring an extra jacket, as on Sunday, Roland Garros is expected to have a low temperature of 47 F and a high of 56 F. The partly sunny skies will allow for a great atmosphere for the first day of the Open.
Following the NFL’s first week of games in which several coaches and staff were seen on sidelines not wearing masks, the league sent a stern warning that penalties would be levied on teams that don’t follow the league’s coronavirus mask policy. Late Monday evening, the NFL reportedly made good on that warning, slapping three teams with fines and three coaches with individuals fines. According to multiple sources, including ESPN reporter Adam Schefter and The Associated Press, San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll and Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio were each fined $100,000 for not wearing masks during their games on Sunday.
Those teams were each fined $250,000 for the mask violation. And more fines could be on the way, based on what TV cameras caught during Monday night’s game. Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden, who recovered from COVID-19, was spotted wearing his mask more like a chin strap. He addressed the issue following the game, telling reporters, “I’m doing my best. I’ve had the virus. I’m doing my best. I’m very sensitive about it. I’m calling the plays. I apologize. If I get fined, I will have to pay the fine,” according to the AP.
The WHO said on Monday that the planet saw its largest seven-day increase in coronavirus cases since the outset of the pandemic. According to the Geneva-based organization, just shy of 2 million new cases were recorded worldwide during the week ending on Sept. 20. The record weekly tally comes as several countries in Europe are experiencing a surge in cases. Boris Johnson, the U.K. prime minister, announced several new measures aimed at curbing the spread there, which has been spinning out of control in recent days. Meanwhile, the WHO report did contain some good news: Coronavirus fatalities were down last week. The 37,700 new deaths last week was a 10 percent decline over the previous week. Here's a look at the current numbers, according to Johns Hopkins University figures:
Confirmed cases: 31,358,115
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced new restrictions on Tuesday as he said the U.K. was at a “perilous turning point” in its fight against the coronavirus. The new restrictions include curfews for restaurants, pubs and other entertainment venues, as they must now remain closed between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. He also urged everyone to work from home when possible. To encourage people to stay home if they test positive, the government also announced that it would pay low-income workers 500 pounds ($639) if they self-isolate for two weeks, while the break of quarantine could cost them up to 10,000 pounds ($12,800). “This is the moment when we must act,” Johnson said, warning that the new measures might be enforced for six months. Additional measures include the use of face masks in taxis, as well as on public transport. The size of social gatherings was also reduced from a limit of 30 people to 15. The new restrictions come as the government reported 4,300 new cases on Monday, the highest number since May. Since the start of the pandemic, the U.K. has reported a total of 401,122 cases and 41,877 deaths.
Half a year after the pandemic began in the U.S., N95 masks are still in short supply. Emergency department nurse Kelly Williams has been wearing the same N95 mask for two months straight -- they are designed to be discarded after each patient. The lack of proper protective equipment has now left healthcare workers and patients at risk for months, The Washington Post reported. At Johns Hopkins, nurses are asked to wear the same N95 mask until it is either broken or visibly dirty, The Washington Post reported.When ventilators were in high-demand in the U.S., President Donald Trump used the Defense Production Act to order General Motors to use their facilities to make more. However, despite pleas from health care workers, the same level of government intervention has not materialized for N95 masks and other respirators. A recent study found that the N95 is the mask that is most effective at blocking the transmission of respiratory droplets. As the winter months come and likely bring a slew of new infections, health care workers remain far from optimistic that they will have the personal protective equipment they need to protect themselves.
Don Ramsayer, a 59-year-old man from Atlanta who was diagnosed with leukemia in November, beat the coronavirus. Like Ramsayer, thousands of other patients across the country have survived, as doctors working in Intensive Care Units have gained more experience that have contributed to the decrease in deaths. “There’s certainly nothing routine about the pandemic, but in terms of how we’re managing it, once you have taken care of something for the tenth time, it is normal,” Dr. Craig Coopersmith, director of the Emory Critical Care Center, told NPR. One of the strategies that doctors at Emory have implemented is asking patients to lie on their stomachs, as this prevents blood clots, one of the most serious complications related to the virus. Some patients at Emory have also been receiving steroids, such as dexamethasone, as a study suggests that steroid consumption can benefit the sickest patients.
Hungarian orchestra conductor Ivan Fischer turned mandatory mask-wearing into a tool of music appreciation. The music-enhancing face mask allows concertgoers to enjoy improved acoustics by having two plastic cups shaped liked life-size palms attached to the mask’s strings, which are designed to fit around the wearer’s ears, according to Reuters. “I got to this idea that it should look like a hand because when we put our hands here,” Fischer said, cupping his palms around his ears, and adding, “we always understand the other person easier, we hear the consonants, and the music sounds much more beautiful.” The inventor said his masks help to emulate church acoustics, with warmer undertones and clearer, sharper contours. Fischer’s invention has become quite popular with concertgoers. The acoustic mask, which costs 8,000 forints ($27) if ordered through the orchestra’s website.
A million people are now in lockdown in Madrid, as coronavirus cases continue to increase in the Spanish capital. According to AFP, the restrictions in Madrid will last about two weeks, and will mainly affect people in densely-populated, low-income neighborhoods, who will only be allowed to leave their houses for essential reasons. Although most people accepted the measures, some complained that restrictions should be placed all throughout the city. “You can’t close one part of a neighborhood and not another one, one street yes, and one street no. So, either you close everything, which will be catastrophic, or you close nothing,” Alejandro Campos, a 30-year-old travel agent, told AFP.
The CDC withdrew previous recommendations regarding aerosol transmission of COVID-19, saying the recommendation was a draft and not meant to be posted on the agency's website. The now-removed guidance was posted on Friday and claimed the virus could spread in airborne particles that are able to travel more than six feet and remain in the air. It further recommended people use air purifiers to prevent the spread. According to Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s emergencies program, scientists at the Geneva-based organization believe the disease is spread mainly through droplets, but they do believe that it can be spread through aerosol transmission in an enclosed and crowded space with poor ventilation. The CDC has yet to announce when it will release the updated version of the guidelines posted on Friday, Reuters reported. “CDC is currently updating its recommendations regarding airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Once this process has been completed, the update language will be posted,” the agency said.
On Sept. 30, New York’s first Michelin three-star restaurant will reopen for the first time since the pandemic shuttered the doors of restaurants across the city. Le Bernardin will begin serving customers once again after remaining completely closed since March without even an option for takeout. Eric Ripert, the owner and chef of Le Bernardin, has taken extra precautions to ensure safety in his restaurant as officials give him and many other owners the OK to reopen at 25% capacity. “We had to figure out how to create an experience that was safe but was also very Le Bernardin,” he said. “And in terms of cost, it had to make sense.” According to Ripert, the cost to enhance his restaurant to improve coronavirus safety was “hundreds of thousands of dollars.” Ripert said one of the most costly safety measures he took was installing a heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system in the dining room and kitchen that kills up to 99% of COVID-19 air particles and is used in hospitals such as Johns Hopkins and airports, according to Bloomberg. “It’s a risk, sure,” he said about reopening.“But it will be a risk in December, in January. We want to bring life back to our neighborhood in Midtown, back to our industry.”
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to grow rapidly in pockets of the world while other regions seem to be experiencing some improvement, Michael T. Osterholm, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, has again compared the pandemic to the spread of a wildfire. According to The New York Times, while the pandemic is being contained in some places, the spread of the virus has not been stamped out entirely. “It’s going to keep burning as long as it has wood. In this case, wood is humans that are susceptible to infection,” Osterholm told the Times. Furthermore, as the weather cools down in parts of the U.S. and draws more people inside in close quarters, many experts believe the case count will rise higher in the coming months. Families traveling to see relatives during the holidays will also raise the risk for outbreaks to spread outside of their communities. “Case counts could start spiking just a few weeks from now,” Peter Hotez, the dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine in Texas, said. “The most rigorous predictions are that we head into November with 220,000 deaths.”
FILE - In this July 31, 2020, file photo, Romelia Navarro, right, is comforted by nurse Michele Younkin, left, as she weeps while sitting at the bedside of her dying husband, Antonio Navarro, in St. Jude Medical Center's COVID-19 unit in Fullerton, Calif. Antonio was Younkin's first COVID-19 patient to pass on her watch. California's death count from the coronavirus surpassed 15,000 on Sunday, Sept. 20, even as the state saw widespread improvement in infection levels. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
World economic output is expected to return to normal levels by mid-2021 after recent months have shown an unexpected bounce back from the pandemic's worst level, according to Deutsche Bank. “Global economic recovery from the depths of the COVID-19 plunge this past winter and spring has proceeded significantly faster than we envisioned,” Peter Hooper, Deutsche global head of economic research wrote to the company’s clients, Reuters reported. “As Q3 draws toward a close, we estimate that the level of global GDP is about half way back to its pre-virus level, and we now see that journey being completed by the middle of next year, a couple quarters sooner than in our previous forecast.” Deutsche estimated the global GDP for 2020 to shrink 5.9% in May, however it recently raised its forecast to only shrink 3.9% for the year. The company’s estimated growth forecast for next year has now raised from 5.3% to 5.6%. Hooper, however, wrote that the expansion of debt and “potential overvaluation of assets” could result in a global financial crisis. “Any upward surprises to inflation would heighten this risk,” he said.
Here are the latest COVID-19 numbers, provided by researchers at Johns Hopkins University:
Confirmed cases: 31,084,007
Iran, which has seen a total of 422,140 reported cases since the beginning of the outbreak, has recorded multiple days of over 3,000 new cases in the past week, marking the first time the country has passed that mark since the country's peak in early June. The country initially saw a surge in late March before slowing the initial spread, however recent case spikes have pushed the nation's death toll to over 24,000.
Two tennis players have tested positive for the coronavirus in the qualifying rounds of the French Open, making them unable to participate. According to the French Tennis Federation (FTT), three additional players were in close contact with a coach who tested positive as well, and they are also unable to participate. The five players, who were not named by the FTT, will isolate for seven days, Yahoo News reported. Over 900 coronavirus tests have taken place on Thursday in preparation for the Paris tournament.
Despite it still being six months away, more and more colleges and universities across the U.S. have already made the decision to cancel spring break in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. In the Big Ten alone, University of Michigan, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Purdue University, Ohio State University and University of Iowa have all made the decision to adjust their spring class schedules to remove a spring break, according to ABC News. At the University of Kentucky, which also chose to remove spring break from the spring semester, university officials said a "revised calendar creates a condensed semester in which students remain engaged in coursework on campus, rather than potentially traveling to other regions and returning to Lexington, which would increase the risk of spreading COVID-19."
As the coronavirus pandemic worsened in the U.S., so did stress and depression levels in the country, according to a new report from Science Advances. The study surveyed more than 6,500 people and revealed that several factors may be linked to worsening stress among people. According to the researchers, the biggest risk for symptoms of depression was previous diagnosis regarding mental health. Stress and depression symptoms were linked more to personal exposure than to spread within the general public, meaning "concerns about contracting the disease outweighed concerns about pandemic-related disruptions in daily life," the researchers said, according to CNN. In addition, employment and job loss has a large impact on mental health as well as exposure to conflicting media reports regarding the virus.
Almost 11,000 people have been potentially exposed to the coronavirus on an airplane through 1,600 cases investigated by the CDC. Despite the large number of those potentially exposed, the CDC reports that they have yet to confirm a case of transmission on an airplane. While there have been reported instances of people who were exposed on an airplane becoming sick after, a spokeswoman for the agency explained that it is difficult to pinpoint exactly if the airplane exposure is what led to the person contracting the virus. “An absence of cases identified or reported is not evidence that there were no cases,” Caitlin Shockey, a spokeswoman for the CDC’s Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, told The Washington Post. “CDC is not able to definitively determine that potential cases were associated (or not) with exposure in the air cabin or through air travel given the numerous opportunities for potential exposure associated with the entire travel journey and widespread global distribution of the virus.” The CDC has previously stated that due to the air filtration systems on an airplane transmission of the virus is less likely, but also made note air travel requires close proximity to others for an extended period of time, and their overall guidance on travel is still to stay home.
On Sunday, health minister Matt Hancock said Britain is at a coronavirus tipping point, warning that a second national lockdown could be imposed if people don’t follow government orders. “The choice is either that everybody follows the rules ... or we will have to take more measures,” Hancock said. Coronavirus cases have risen in recent weeks, with 3,899 reported on Sunday. Stricter lockdown measures have been introduced in areas across the country - with London possibly next in line, according to Reuters. On Saturday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced fines of up to 10,000 pounds ($12,900) for people in England who break new rules requiring them to self-isolate if they have been in contact with someone infected with COVID-19. In addition to tighter rules, several locations in Britain have had ‘local lockdowns’ imposed, limiting when, where and how many people can meet up socially.
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson bumps elbows with scientists as he visits the construction site of the new vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre (VMIC), currently under construction near Didcot, England, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. (Richard Pohle/Pool Photo via AP)
Nearly 7,000 Chicago hotel workers who remain laid off due to the pandemic are at risk of losing their health insurance at the end of the month. More than 200 Chicago hotel workers and supporters rallied to march through downtown on Friday. Intersections were blocked by Chicago police officers for the parade of protesters, according to Chicago Sun Times. Up to 12 million Americans may have lost their employer-sponsored health insurance during the pandemic, a recent study by the Economic Policy Institute found. Almost half of the 16.9 million jobs in the U.S. hospitality sector were lost in March and April. Sarah Lyons, spokeswoman for Unite Here Local 1, told the Chicago Sun Times that it’s difficult for workers to pay medical bills when it’s unclear when or if their jobs will return. The hotels have not been paying their share of employees’ health care premiums since March, Lyons said — a position disputed by a Hyatt official.
The surge in RV sales and an increase in camping continue to build amid pandemic. This sudden rise in sales this year is correlated to working remotely during quarantine and lockdowns during coronavirus. “We usually have a couple of electric sites open here or there but this year every electric site was taken from as soon as we opened through the Labor Day holiday,” Vicki Winn, one of the hosts at The Point Grove Campground, told the Chicago Sun Times. “Our primitive sites were also pretty full. Lots of campers elected to use those sites and run generators for their campers. Lots more tent campers, too.” Right now it is unknown if these impacts will last or will only last short-term during the pandemic. “A dealer survey released this month suggests retail growth in the mid-thirties percent range in August—similar to July 2020,” Phil Ingrassia, president of National RV Dealers Association (RVDA) told the Chicago Sun Times in an email. “Dealer inventories are down to 20 to 30 percent of where they usually are at this time.” This means inventory is are flying off the lots.
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