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A second major university is suspending classes right after the start of the new academic year due to a COVID-19 outbreak.
The University of Notre Dame paused in-person instruction Tuesday, a day after a similar move by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Notre Dame is putting the classes online for two weeks and not sending students home, apparently in hopes that the infections won’t grow worse.
But for those who believe enough people will become infected in the world to create “herd immunity,” the World Health Organization had bad news Tuesday.
A researcher said we’re still a long ways off from that point in which enough people have antibodies from the virus that it can halt the spread before vaccines become available, the Daily Mail reported. The big problem at the moment is younger persons, those in the 20s, 30s or 40s, with mild or no symptoms of COVID-19 who are unknowingly spreading it.
Another way to slow the spread: wear masks in public restrooms. Flushing a urinal can create an “alarming upward flow” of particles, which are present in human feces and urine, according to a new study.
Some significant developments:
- The head of the U.S. Postal Service said he would pause operational changes at the agency until after the November election after lawmakers expressed fear the changes would hinder the collection of mail-in ballots.
- Clusters of COVID-19 have led the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill to suddenly pivot to online classes a week after welcoming students back on campus. The university’s football team, however, still plans to play this fall.
- A group of researchers from the University of Southern California tracked the common order of how COVID-19 symptoms progress in a new study. It usually starts with fever, followed by a cough.
- Nursing homes see an all-time high in COVID-19 infections, according to a new report.
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has 5.4 million confirmed infections and more than 171,000 deaths. Worldwide, there have been more than 778,500 deaths and nearly 22 million cases, according to John Hopkins University data.
📰 What we’re reading: New coronavirus cases are emerging at schools. How much you know depends on where you live.
This file will be updated throughout the day. For updates in your inbox, subscribe to the Daily Briefing.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine will allow high school sports to continue this fall.
Both contact and non-contact sports will be permitted to move forward, but they could look quite different. Spectators will be limited to a small number of people close to the athletes, marching band members or other participants.
Local health department and Ohio High School Athletic Association officials will have site inspectors at athletic events to ensure social distancing and other health regulations are followed. Teams and leagues can delay sports to the spring.
Students won’t need to be tested to participate in sports. DeWine said he anticipated most high schools wouldn’t have the resources to regularly test their athletes.
“It’s not going to be your typical Friday night football in Ohio,” DeWine said. “But the young people are going to get to play.
– Jessie Balmert and Jackie Borchardt, Cincinnati Enquirer
Hawaii Gov. David Ige has hinted about it for weeks as COVID-19 cases in the state surged, and on Tuesday he made it official: The state won’t reopen to tourism until October at the earliest.
The planned Sept. 1 start of a program that would allow out-of-state visitors to bypass Hawaii’s strict 14-day quarantine upon arrival by presenting a negative COVID-19 test at the airport has been delayed until at least Oct. 1, Ige said late Tuesday.
“We will continue to monitor the conditions here in Hawaii as well as key markets on the mainland to determine the appropriate start date for the pre-travel (COVID-19) testing program,” he said.
The delay, the second since the program was announced in June, will affect passengers who bet on the Sept. 1 reopening and bought airline tickets to Hawaii, airline flight schedules and, of course, Hawaii’s decimated tourism industry.
– Dawn Gilbertson
Australia has announced a deal to manufacture a potential coronavirus vaccine being developed by British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZenec.
“Under the deal, every single Australian will be able to receive the University of Oxford COVID-19 vaccine for free, should trials prove successful, safe and effective,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a statement Wednesday.
Morrison said the Oxford University trial was in a phase-three stage and more work was needed to prove its viability. “If this vaccine proves successful, we will manufacture and supply vaccines straight away under our own steam and make it free for 25 million Australians,” Morisson said.
The U.S. stock market closed at an all-time high Tuesday, staging a stunning turnaround from the darkest early days of the coronavirus pandemic.
The rebound was propelled by Big Tech as trillions of dollars in stimulus aid from the Federal Reserve and Congress helped prop up an American economy gripped by recession.
The resurgence comes despite a backdrop of historic job losses, bankruptcies and shrinking corporate profits after the economic fallout from the worst global pandemic in a century. Investors have shrugged off a string of dismal economic data in recent months and a spike in outbreaks, opting to instead scoop up stocks at bargain prices as optimism grows for an economic recovery with further stimulus and a vaccine.
Can the run continue?
“So much of this hinges on a vaccine,” says Ryan Detrick, senior market strategist at LPL Financial.
– Jessica Menton
Only one in five adults have visited a dentist office amid pandemic, even though two in five adults said they’ve had dental issues since March, a new study finds.
The survey by Guardian Life also revealed one in four U.S. adults won’t be comfortable going to the dentist by the end of the year.
Dr. Nadeem Karimbux, dean of Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, has seen an increase in visits to the university’s emergency clinic, but he attributes the uptick to the closure of private dentist offices during shelter-in-place orders.
“During the shutdown across the U.S., the one thing that dentists and dental schools were allowed to do was to treat patients that needed urgent or emergency care,” he said. Most of the dental schools shut down, but not the emergency clinic, he said, which treated about a dozen patients a day during the three months that much of the country was on lockdown.
– Elinor Aspegren
Louisiana’s governor rejected an emergency plan for the fall elections Tuesday because it doesn’t expand mail-in balloting options.
Gov. John Bel Edwards wants expanded mail-in balloting as an option for quarantined voters or those at greater risk of serious harm from COVID-19. The decision by the Democratic governor will block the plan offered by Republican Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin for the Nov. 3 presidential election and a Dec. 5 state election.
Ardoin proposed a much more limited adjustment in voting rules for the fall elections than the emergency plan used for Louisiana’s summer elections, including a modest expansion of early voting. It still requires most people to cast their ballots in person in the pandemic.
After a rapid increase in coronavirus cases, the University of Notre Dame on Tuesday paused in-person instruction a little over a week after classes started.
It was the second major university this week to halt in-person courses. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Monday pivoted its fall semester online after one week of class.
Still, Notre Dame is not sending students home, “at least for the time being,” said the college’s president, the Rev. John I. Jenkins. For the next two weeks, all undergraduate courses will be online. Students who live on campus should stay there unless there is an emergency, the university said in a news release, while students who live off campus should not come to school.
Notre Dame made the switch after reporting nearly 90 cases on Monday alone, for a total of 147 since August 3. Contact tracing, Jenkins said, showed many of the new cases were related to “off-campus gatherings.”
Also Tuesday, Michigan State University announced its in-person classes would be offered remotely. It also asked its undergraduate students planning to live on campus to stay home. Courses are scheduled to start Sept. 2.
The Navy Pier will shutter early this season on Sept. 8 and isn’t expected to open again until next spring even though this is normally its busiest time of year.
The popular tourist spot reopened in a limited capacity June 10, but officials said they’re only seeing about 15% to 20% of the usual crowds. The early closure, which will include more than 70 businesses, is expected to help reduce operational expenses and limit losses.
“While this was a very difficult decision for the organization, it was a necessary one to proactively ensure the long-term success of one of Chicago’s most treasured and important civic institutions,” said Navy Pier CEO Marilynn Gardner in a statement.
The Centennial Wheel and other top attractions on the pier haven’t been able to open and operate, officials said, and the Chicago Children’s Museum and Chicago Shakespeare Theater have been closed as well.
COVID-19 is on track to become the third leading cause of death in the U.S. this year, following only heart disease and cancer, the National Safety Council reported Tuesday. If it comes to pass, it would mark the first time since 2016 that preventable deaths, including fatal drug overdoses, auto accidents and falls, held the third-place position, the council said.
With the number of deaths attributed to the coronavirus now topping 170,000 in the U.S., the total has already blown past the 167,127 lives lost to preventable accidents two years ago, according to the council.
“In a little more than six months, COVID-19 has claimed more lives than accidental drug overdoses, motor vehicle crashes and falls combined during 2018,” the council said in a statement.
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said Tuesday that he is going to suspend his efforts to make reforms at the U.S. Postal Service that led to fears by Democrats that mail-in ballots, considered critical this election year, could be delayed.
In a statement, he said that the management initiatives aimed at reducing the operation’s losses were “raised as areas of concern as the nation prepares to hold an election in the midst of a devastating pandemic. To avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail, I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded.”
DeJoy, a North Carolina business executive who has been a large GOP contributor, was under fire for reductions that aimed at reducing the postal service’s losses, attributed in part to the effects of COVID-19. He had been scheduled to appear before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee on Friday.
Alaska and Delaware were added to the list of 31 states, plus the territories of Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands, that require 14-day quarantine periods upon arrival in New York, New Jersey or Connecticut, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced.
The list is aimed at preventing infections from those traveling from states that have high COVID-19 infection rates. Visitors have to fill out a questionnaire if they arrive by air or stay at hotels and New York City has random checkpoints at its borders.
“We’ve gone from one of the nation’s worst infection rates to one of its best and have an infection rate below 1% for the 11th straight day — but that’s no excuse for getting complacent as we add two more states to our travel advisory,” Cuomo said in a statement.
– Joseph Spector and Jon Campbell, Lohud.com
Wearing a mask in public restrooms should be mandatory during the pandemic, researchers say, because there’s increasing evidence that flushing toilets – and now urinals – can release inhalable coronavirus particles into the air.
The coronavirus can be found in a person’s urine or stool, and flushing urinals can generate an “alarming upward flow” of particles that “travel faster and fly farther” than particles from a toilet flush, according to a study published in the journal Physics of Fluid Monday.
Researcher Xiangdong Liu and a team from Yangzhou University in China simulated urinal flushing using computer models and estimated that, within just five seconds of flushing, virus particles could reach a height of more than 2 feet off the ground.
“Urinal flushing indeed promotes the spread of bacteria and viruses,” Liu said.
– Grace Hauck
COVID-19 cases in Mississippi’s schools are on the rise as 71 of the state’s 82 counties have seen positive school cases, State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said Monday.
Dobbs said 245 teachers and 199 students have tested positive in Mississippi. Those positives have led to 589 teachers and 2,035 students being placed in quarantine, too. However, many schools have yet to reopen to in-person learning.
Dobbs said most students that have tested positive caught the virus outside of campus, and “brought it with them.”
As schools continue to reopen, Gov. Tate Reeves said testing would be expanded for teachers, even if they are not symptomatic, and emergency telehealth services would be offered at schools for students covered under Medicaid, which could be an option for about half of Mississippi school campuses, Reeves said.
– Luke Ramseth, Mississippi Clarion Ledger
More than 97,000 children in the US have tested positive for COVID-19. Here’s how to care for your kids during the pandemic.
Officials at the World Health Organization raised new alarms Tuesday that young people unaware of their infection are increasingly driving the spread of COVID-19 and the world is nowhere near herd immunity.
People in their 20s, 30s and 40s may be unaware they have an active case if their symptoms are mild or not present, but they are making up a greater share of the infected population, posing a risk to more vulnerable populations as they can still spread the virus, officials warned Tuesday.
“The epidemic is changing,” said Takeshi Kasai, the WHO’s Western Pacific regional director, per Reuters.
WHO’s emergencies chief Dr. Michael Ryan said Tuesday that we should not live “in hope” of achieving herd immunity, adding, “This is not a solution and not a solution we should be looking to.”
New York has the most deaths in the nation from COVID-19, but now has among the lowest infection rates in the nation.
Crown, an imprint of the Random House Publishing Group, announced Tuesday that it will publish a new book Oct. 13 by the Democratic governor, titled “AMERICAN CRISIS: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic.”
Random House billed Cuomo’s book as a “revealing, behind-the-scenes account of his experience leading New York State through the COVID-19 epidemic.”
– Joseph Spector, New York State Team
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern hit back against her U.S. counterpart’s criticism of new COVID-19 cases in New Zealand, calling President Donald Trump’s comments “patently wrong.”
Trump said Monday that New Zealand was seeing a “big surge” in virus cases after “it was like front page, they beat it.”
Arden, however, was critical of Trump’s characterization of the new case count.
“I think for anyone who’s following COVID and its transmission globally will quite easily see that New Zealand’s nine cases in a day does not compare to the United States’ tens of thousands,” she told reporters.
New Zealand, with a population of 5 million, added 13 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, while the U.S., with a population of about 330 million, added more than 35,000 cases on Monday, Johns Hopkins University data shows. Throughout the pandemic, New Zealand has also reported just 22 virus deaths compared to more than 170,000 in the U.S.
More COVID-19 resources from USA TODAY
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Contributing: The Associated Press
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