Coronavirus updates: New York schools can open; Georgia student suspension dropped; 250K will be at Sturgis rally, masks optional
A new forecast warns that COVID-19 deaths could reach 300,000 by December without widespread use of masks. The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation says consistent use of a face covering would lower the figure by 70,000.
Meanwhile, White House negotiators say talks with congressional Democrats on a coronavirus stimulus package have fallen apart and they will recommend President Donald Trump take executive action on a number of programs aimed at helping Americans.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., met for more than two hours Friday with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows in a last-ditch attempt to salvage discussions now in their second week. But the effort appeared fruitless, with both sides admitting they were at a standstill with no real pathway forward.
Here are some significant developments:
- Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, who had been set to meet with Trump on Thursday, ultimately tested negative for COVID-19. Earlier in the day, a rapid test gave him a positive readingAbout 250,000 people are expected Friday in Sturgis, South Dakota, for an annual 10-day motorcycle rally, where masks have not been mandated.New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday that all New York children will be able to return to the classroom this fall, citing the state’s low infection rate. Jobs report:The economy added 1.8 million jobs in July while unemployment fell to 10.2%, the Labor Department said Friday.
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has recorded more than 160,000 deaths and 4.8 million cases of COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University. Worldwide, there have been more than 715,000 deaths and 19.1 million cases.
📰 What we’re reading: Sanitizing booths to prevent the spread of COVID-19: Do they work? The Denver Broncos posted a video that showed its players, masked up and in jerseys on their way to practice, filing through a walk-through sanitizing booth that misted them. But medical experts cast significant doubts whether the booths are an effective tool to prevent the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Read about it here.
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Trump again warns he’ll use executive orders to extend benefits
The content of the article:
- 1 Trump again warns he’ll use executive orders to extend benefits
- 2 CDC reports find racial disparities among children in combating virus
- 3 250,000 people expected at Sturgis motorcycle rally; masks not mandated
- 4 Georgia student says suspension for posting images of maskless students dropped
- 5 New York schools can reopen in-person classes, Cuomo says
- 6 Florida health directors told to not advise schools on reopening
- 7 Hong Kong to offer free testing for all 7.5M residents
- 8 US adds 1.8M jobs as economy shows sluggish recovery
- 9 What we’re reading
- 10 New forecast sees 300,000 virus deaths by December without mask use
- 11 India reaches 2M cases as death toll surpasses 41,000
- 12 By the numbers: New records in Hawaii
- 13 More COVID-19 resources from USA TODAY
Trump said Friday he was preparing to act unilaterally on four programs, including several that Americans have been relying on to keep financially stable since the coronavirus began pummeling the U.S. economy in March, but said his administration was still working with the hopes of reaching a deal with Democrats.
The legality of such orders remains unclear and the president has largely skirted questions about the constitutionality of using executive orders on such programs.
“My administration continues to work in good faith to reach an agreement with Democrats in Congress,” the president said during a Friday night news conference at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. “Yet tragically Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer continue to insist on radical left wing policies.”
– Nicholas Wu, Christal Hayes
CDC reports find racial disparities among children in combating virus
Two sobering government reports released Friday showed that racial disparities in the U.S. coronavirus epidemic extend to children.
One of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports looked at children with COVID-19 who needed hospitalization. Hispanic children were hospitalized at a rate eight times higher than white kids, and Black children were hospitalized at a rate five times higher, it found.
The second report examined cases of a rare virus-associated syndrome in kids. It found that nearly three-quarters of the children with the syndrome were either Hispanic or Black, well above their representation in the general population.
The hospitalization rate for Hispanic children was about 16.4 per 100,000. The rate for Black children was 10.5 per 100,000, and for white kids it was 2.1 per 100,000.
As with adults, many of the hospitalized children had existing health problems, including obesity, chronic lung conditions and — in the case of infants — preterm birth.
– Associated Press
250,000 people expected at Sturgis motorcycle rally; masks not mandated
About 250,000 people are descending on Sturgis, South Dakota, on Friday for an annual 10-day motorcycle rally that local and state officials declined to cancel despite the dangers of spreading the coronavirus.
“We cannot stop people from coming,” Mayor Mark Carstensen said Thursday on CNN. He said there is not much the city can do but encourage “personal responsibility,” set up sanitation stations and give out masks, which are not mandated.
City council members for the town of 7,000 people voted in June, 8-1, to go ahead with the 80-year tradition, which is a major boost for local businesses, according to local news outlet NewsCenter 1. A city survey found that more than 60% of Sturgis residents wanted the event postponed, the Associated Press reported.
While the Community Center will provide parking for bikes outside as usual, it will not be hosting vendors inside as in the past, according to NewsCenter 1. Sturgis High School will not offer shower services nor host the annual pancake breakfast as in the past.
The mayor said there will be no quarantine required of visitors from high-risk states, but that the city plans widespread testing for the virus after the event. It also plans to deliver supplies to the homes of those worried about the virus.
Georgia student says suspension for posting images of maskless students dropped
A Georgia high school has dropped its five-day suspension of at least one student for posting photos of a school hallway crowded with mostly maskless students on the first week of classes.
North Paulding High school, in Dallas, Georgia, about 30 miles northwest of Atlanta, got national attention this week when the images of the crowded hallways showed students in clusters without face coverings. Hannah Watters, 15, said she was suspended for five days for violating rules on students posting school images on social media, BuzzFeed reported. It said a second, unnamed, students was also suspended.
On Friday, Watters said on Twitter and to the Associated Press that the suspension had been dropped. She said the school called “and they have deleted by suspension” allowing her to return to classes on Monday.
New York schools can reopen in-person classes, Cuomo says
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that New York schools will be able to open for in-person instruction this fall, leaving the ultimate decision on reopening up to local authorities.
Cuomo said the infection rates due to COVID-19 are low enough so the districts can begin to reopen next month. Friday’s decision is meant to be a preliminary one, as the first day of school is still a month away. Each district had to submit their own plans to reopen that are being reviewed by the state Health Department.
The nation’s largest school district, New York City, is expected to start classes Sept. 10. The district plans to allow students to choose either online learning or a hybrid plan with as many as three days of in-person instruction.
– Sophie Grosserode and Joseph Spector, New York State Team
Florida health directors told to not advise schools on reopening
As Gov. Ron DeSantis pushed this summer for schools to reopen, Florida leaders told school boards they would need Health Department approval if they wanted to keep classrooms closed. Then they instructed health directors not to give it.
Following a directive from DeSantis’ administration, county health directors across Florida refused to give school boards advice about one of the most wrenching public health decisions in modern history: whether to reopen schools in a worsening pandemic, a USA TODAY NETWORK review found.
In county after county the health directors’ refrain to school leaders was the same: Their role was to provide information, not recommendations. They could not tell school boards whether they believed the risks of opening campuses were too great, they said. They could only provide suggestions on how to reopen safely.
For frustrated school board members, it was a puzzling turnabout. Florida’s public schools have long depended on local health directors for recommendations on everything from reducing encephalitis risks at football games to how to test students during tuberculosis outbreaks. Lacking clear guidance from their local health directors, school board members in many counties said they felt compelled to reopen classrooms despite serious misgivings about exposing teachers and students to COVID-19.Read more here.
– Andrew Marra, The Palm Beach Post
Hong Kong to offer free testing for all 7.5M residents
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam says the semi-autonomous Chinese city will offer free coronavirus testing for all its 7.5 million residents beginning in two weeks.
Lam says such universal testing will help gauge the level of transmission in the community, find those who may be carrying the virus but not showing symptoms and reassure the public.
She told reporters, “Put simply, anyone in the community who wants to do a test can take the test. We won’t care if they come from high-risk groups or not.”
Lam says tests would be carried out in a manner to avoid lines and maintain social distancing. Lam’s government has already cited such concerns as the reason for postponing elections for the city’s Legislative Council originally scheduled for September in what the opposition camp called a political move.
Hong Kong has been struggling to contain a new outbreak that has seen it adding around 100 new cases per day. The city has registered more than 3,800 cases with 46 deaths.
– Associated Press
US adds 1.8M jobs as economy shows sluggish recovery
The U.S. added 1.8 million jobs in July as payroll growth slowed amid a split-screen economy that had employers stepping up hiring in parts of the country that continued to let businesses reopen, even as COVID-19 spikes forced Sunbelt firms to pull back and lay off workers.
The unemployment rate fell to 10.2% from 11.1% in June, the Labor Department said Friday. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had estimated that 1.5 million jobs were added last month.
– Paul Davidson
What we’re reading
- Reading this while wearing your comfy pants? No one is buying business clothes right now. That’s bad news for retailers.Party killers: Colleges hope new rules will slow COVID spread. Students aren’t convinced. Traveling during coronavirus: How to get through airport security faster – and safer
New forecast sees 300,000 virus deaths by December without mask use
A new forecast by the University of Washington predicts the U.S. death toll from COVID-19 could hit 300,000 by December, but could be reduced by 70,000 if people consistently wear a mask.
The data from the university’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, which has been frequently cited in the past by the White House, forecast 295,011 deaths by December. Consistent use of face coverings could cut the increases in deaths by 49%, the forecast said.
IHME Director Dr. Christopher Murray described the response by the American public to the virus outbreaks as a “roller coaster.” He said Thursday that people tend to wear masks when infections are high, then stop protecting themselves when infections decline, “and the potentially deadly cycle starts over again.”
Murray said the recent drops in COVID-19 infections in Arizona, California, Florida and Texas appear to be driven by a combination of local mandates for mask use, bar and restaurant closures and more responsible behavior by the public.
India reaches 2M cases as death toll surpasses 41,000
Two million people in India have tested positive for the coronavirus, the country’s health ministry reported Friday. India, the world’s second-largest country has the third-highest caseload in the world after the United States and Brazil.
The caseload in the world’s second-most populous country has quickly expanded since the government began lifting a months-long lockdown hoping to jumpstart the economy. The Indian government is projecting negative economic growth in 2020.
India is also home to the world’s largest vaccine-maker, the Serum Institute, which has ramped up capacity to manufacture as many as a billion doses of a vaccine in development by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, which is in phase two trials in India and England.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine tests negative after second COVID-19 test
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s second COVID-19 test came back negative Thursday evening. DeWine, 73, tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Thursday morning using a rapid test. That test was part of the protocol to greet President Donald Trump on the tarmac at Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland.
DeWine then returned to Columbus and took a second COVID-19 test from Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center. That polymerase chain reaction or PCR test came back negative late Thursday night.
First lady Fran DeWine and staff members also tested negative.
– Jackie Borchardt, Jessie Balmert and Jason Lalljee, Cincinnati Enquirer
By the numbers: New records in Hawaii
A USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins data through late Thursday shows one state set records for new cases in a week while one state had a record number of deaths in a week. New case records were set in Hawaii. Record numbers of deaths were reported in Tennessee, and also Puerto Rico. The United States has reported 4,883,582 cases and 160,104 deaths.
– Mike Stucka
More COVID-19 resources from USA TODAY
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